A critical examination of responsibility to protect in the realm of international law and human security from third world perspective
Vijay Kishor Tiwari, Surbhi Khyati
The end of Cold War has given impetus to various humanitarian interventions and it has brought a tectonic shift in the security paradigm. The notion of security was, hitherto, understood in terms of security of the State. State - in which lied the sovereignty of its people - was perceived as the only legitimate representative of the collective will of its people and thus ‘empowered’ to pursue its national interest to safeguard its territory. Hence conventional security approach recognized the State as the ‘natural’ power and the sole unit of international dynamics and the only authority to use coercive force over its own people. Contemporary thinking on security, however, has seen a paradigm shift from this conventional approach and has pushed for human beings, rather than State, to become the central concern of security discourse. The idea of human security gave birth to the idea of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ as an emerging norm in international law, which is seen as a tool of recolonization by many Third world countries. The global community is still caught in the conundrum of protecting human lives from violent threats at one hand and the consequences of ‘democratic imperialism’ which is inherent in humanitarian interventions in the name of human rights. Though at the very outset, responsibility to protect seems ‘innocuous’ and a ‘pious principle’ to protect the human rights of those who are subjected to genocide and ethnic cleansing, many critics see it as ‘spectre of colonialism’ and hegemony in a new form and hence they are not ready to take it as a readymade panacea of human rights abuses. The new norm of ‘Responsibility to protect’ has received cynical responses from many human security experts and international lawyers. This paper will attempt to examine Responsibility to Protect as an evolving norm in the realm of international law and its critique from the perspective of third-world countries. It will also examine the perils of imperialism which are often brought to third-world countries in the name of human security, democracy, peacebuilding, and the rule of law from the Third World Approach to International law’.