The Importance Of Human Rights Protection

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Introduction
The responsibility to protect human rights has seen extensive and exhaustive debate throughout history. Since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the tension between state sovereignty and international intervention in pursuit of human rights protection has been contested. Over three centuries later, and the United Nations Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine has codified human rights protection in a global political commitment of the highest order. Following the international acceptance of the R2P, many who support state protection contest the legitimacy of the doctrine, and question its encroachment on state sovereignty. Conversely, liberal internationalists commend its recognition of the international community in human rights protection. However, since the adoption of the R2P, its application has been scrutinised, most significantly by opportunistic nationalists who push the outdated protectionist agenda. Despite such criticisms, this essay aims to argue that provisions for international intervention, failing the protection of citizens by sovereign states, are imperative in the protection of global human rights and security.
Section 1. Sovereignty and failed states
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The importance of state sovereignty first received formal recognition in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia (Hassan 2006: 66). Many nationalists argue that sovereign authority is the cornerstone of a fully functioning international order, free of intervention from other states (Ayoob 2002: 81). This, however, is contentious. State sovereignty as a means of human protection is an ideal reserved for a limited number of properly functioning states. In his book Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States, Rotberg (2004: 3) argues that the primary responsibility of states is to provide ‘political goods’,

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