October 1 2017
Humanitarian intervention has been a complex and challenging issue in the realm of international human rights policies. Basic rights such as life, liberty and autonomy along with many others are constantly being violated in a vast majority of countries in the world. Humanitarian intervention, devoid of national interest and use of extreme military force can help nations with humanitarian crises resolve conflict and restore political, economic, cultural and social stability. While interventions by India in Pakistan, Vietnam in Cambodia and Tanzania in Uganda are considered successful humanitarian interventions, Somalia and Rwanda were not. Some of the successes and failures of these interventions are a result of disagreements in International policies among nations and states, national (self) interest, and lack of reinforcement.
The Indian Invasion of Pakistan in 1971 is one of the first military interventions that successfully restored stability in Eastern Pakistan. “According to the Indian government, this military intervention was carried out in response to the massive slaughter, taking place in what was then East Pakistan, that had caused millions of Pakistani refugees to flee to India” (Poe et al.,169). However, considering India’s and Pakistan’s history of violent conflicts, it was uncertain whether India was intervening for humanitarian reasons or to weaken their enemies in that area, or even both. Furthermore, “The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly disapproved of India’s intervention, although this has no bearing on whether the intervention was ‘humanitarian’ or not” (169). This event highlights two of the biggest roadblocks in International policy: reinforcement and accountability. Regardless of India’s accomplishments in establishing order in Eastern Pakistan, they went against many International agreements and conducts including those of the UN and did not face any consequences as there wasn’t anyone there to enforce them in the first place. “The greatest and gravest weakness in the entire realm of human rights concerns the lack of effective enforcement and protection of those rights” Poe et al assert as they elaborate on a complex issue in International policy that has many gray areas concerning how interventions are conducted, the countries conducting them and a debate as to who is entitled to reinforce these policies. The Rwandan genocide was a prime example of non-humanitarian intervention. Regardless of the slaughter of millions, and the displacement of thousands, there was little to no aid from the International community. After the murder of ten Belgian UN peacekeeping troops, the Security Council of the UN “voted to decrease the size of the peacekeeping force that had been in the country from 2,500 to 270” (174). With the U.N’s withdrawal of peacekeeping troops, there were no countries in the West that were willing to intervene. After the failed...