State Sovereignty Essay

1511 Words 6 Pages
Since the late twentieth century, there has been much discussion and debate about the future of the current international system based upon state sovereignty. While, ‘[t]he state has long been accepted as international law’s central actor’, and the notion of sovereignty may seem natural and unchangeable, it has only been the organising principle for the international system for a short time. The world was not always organised on a territorial basis, it was not until the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, with the end of the Thirty Years War, in 1648, and the singing of the Westphalian Peace Treaties that the system of sovereign states was created. This Westphalian agreement created a system where the power of each state was contained within …show more content…
Increasingly since the Second World War and the atrocities of the Holocaust there has been a push to recognise that all individuals hold human rights. Human rights can be seen as an infringement on sovereignty because they restrict states authority by preventing a state from deciding its own domestic policies; for states, as sovereign, have the right to do as they wish within their territory, even attack their populations, without fear of intervention from outside forces. The beginning of the loss of state sovereignty can be seen with the creation of the United Nations. The Charter for the United Nations infringes on traditional concepts of sovereignty because while the Charter does discuss the protection of state sovereignty, the Charter’s preamble, like Article 1, focuses on the protection of human rights ‘We The Peoples OF The United Nations Determined: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.. and; to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights’. Moreover, the Security Council in the 1990s began to reinterpret the Charter to ‘more frequently favor human rights over the protection of state sovereignty’ even implementing the Right to Protect policy in 2001 which allowed the United Nations to justify …show more content…
Not only are non-governmental organisations many in number but they are also increasingly taking on roles that have traditionally belonged to the state such as ‘distributing aid, providing services, and implementing large-scale projects’. Non-governmental organisations also infringe on the traditional state-centric system by playing a key role ‘in both the development of international law and its enforcement’, an area long considered the exclusive domain of states. For example, the Inuit Circumpolar Council works as a non-governmental political actor to fight for the rights of the indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia, the ICC has United Nations membership and has successfully changed existing laws in their home-state countries as well as implementing new domestic and international laws for the protection of their culture and identity and to increase their influence within the international system. With NGOs taking on such vital roles in international society, and therefore holding a great deal of both economic and political power, it is of major concern that they have no accountability as they are, like multinational corporations, able to

Related Documents