Responsibility to Protect – A larger tool than anticipated? An analysis of the potential usage of structural violence in the Responsibility to Protect

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Abstract: On a daily basis, many people around the world die due to starvation, structural discrimination and other actions which can be prevented by state actors. The international community has agreed that the sovereignty of the state is vital, which means that what happens within a state is up to their legitimate rulers, with a few exceptions. If the state can’t prevent the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing, in other words active killing of the state’s population, the international community has the right, or responsibility, to act and ultimately intervene regardless of who is carrying out the deed. These four crimes are often portrayed as violent, but can these crimes be anything else than direct violent? More precise, can they be carried out in a situation where physical violence is absent or at least minimal? If that is the case, then the international community has the right and responsibility to act or even intervene to stop the ‘passive killing’.For that reason, this thesis aims to investigate whether Responsibility to protect can be applied in situations without direct physical violence.

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