The objective of this project is to investigate how states should respond to human rights violations in other states. While failure to protect human rights is most visible in cases involving the worst kinds of rights violations, such as genocide or crimes against humanity, most human rights violations do not take this form. The majority of human rights violations are instead violations of political, economic, social and cultural rights. Failure to protect such rights not only applies to autocratic and poor states, but also to rich liberal states, albeit to a lesser extent. Given the lack of effective supra state enforcement mechanisms, it is important to ask what other states may and must do in response to such rights violations.
The first part of the project is concerned with developing a theory of international intervention for the protection of human rights. The objective during this phase of the project is to map the normatively relevant concerns that should weigh on our assessment of interventions and to examine how these concerns should be weighed against each other. The focus during this phase of the project has been on this goal, and three research articles are being written, in part cooperation with the research group in political theory (MANCEPT) at the University of Manchester. The second of these articles was presented at the 2021 Braga Meetings on Ethics and Political Philosophy.
The second part of the project will apply the theoretical framework developed during the first phase in order to conduct normative analyses of questions such as: How and how often should intervention to protect human rights take place? And, who should be responsible for carrying out the interventions? Work on this part of the project was started during the summer of 2021.
This project investigates how states should respond to human rights violations in other states. Existing research has established the permissibility of military responses to genocide and crimes against humanity, but has mostly ignored how states should respond other rights violations, using means short of military force. To fill this gap this three-year project sees the investigator employ normative analysis to examine a novel view called Rights-Protecting Interventionism (RPI). RPI follows from a commitment to global justice and human rights, and says that external intervention is, in principle, morally permitted whenever human rights are violated by a state. RPI recognizes that there are different ways of intervening, and maintains that interventions are permissible so long as they are not disproportionately coercive. The project proceeds in two stages, evenly split in terms of time: The first step identifies the most plausible version of RPI. The second step focuses on normative guidance, investigating factors that speak against RPI, such as practical implementation, tolerance and self-determination, and epistemic uncertainty and humility, before considering if and how RPI should be applied. The project will offer normative conclusions about what states seeking to adopt an ethical foreign policy may and must do in order to protect human rights in other states, providing new knowledge of the nature and limits of external enforcement of rights in international politics.