The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty

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The international community faces no more critical issue than how to protect people caught in new and large-scale humanitarian crises - humanitarian intervention has been controversial both when it has happened, as in Kosovo, and when it has failed to happen, as in Rwanda. While there is general agreement internationally that we should not stand by in the face of massive violations of human rights, respect for the sovereign rights of states maintains a central place among the principles governing relations between states.
In his Millennium Report to the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the international community to address the real dilemmas posed by intervention and sovereignty. The independent International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) was established by the Canadian government in September 2000 to respond to that challenge.
After a year of intense worldwide consultations and debate, the Commission now presents this path-breaking report. With its central theme of the "responsibility to protect," the report underlines the primary responsibility of sovereign states to protect their own citizens from avoidable catastrophe - from mass murder, from large scale loss of life and rape, from starvation. But when they are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the broader community of states - there must be no more Rwandas or Srebrenicas.
The Commission has also produced a companion volume, written by Thomas Weiss and Don Hubert with input from an outstanding group of international specialists. This volume represents a comprehensive, balanced and up-to-date summary of the key political, ethical, legal, and operational issues and will be of particular interest to scholars. It also contains an exhaustive, thematic bibliography.
The ICISS Report includes a CD-ROM, containing PDF versions of the report, research essays from the companion volume, and an electronic, searchable bibliography.
 

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Page 7 - All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
Page 153 - While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Page 7 - Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.
Page 159 - While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.
Page 7 - To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and 4.
Page 18 - Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
Page 160 - The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council...
Page 8 - The question whether a certain matter is or is not solely within the jurisdiction of a State is an essentially relative question; it depends upon the development of international relations.
Page 160 - The Security Council shall at all times be kept fully informed of activities undertaken or in contemplation under regional arrangements or by regional agencies for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Page 11 - ... as a means to an end rather than an end in itself; - and to understand the noncontrol functions other staff members perform.