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Humanitarian Intervention in Libya and Darfur: The Future of Responsibility to Protect



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Since the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the global political hegemons, the world has seen an influx of deadly intrastate conflicts. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine emerged to address the global challenges raised by these civil wars, stating that humanitarian intervention is both necessary at times and a responsibility of the international community. The R2P doctrine was adopted in 2005, but the UN Security Council has struggled to consistently determine where, when, and how humanitarian interventions should be authorized to take place. The purpose of this research is to identify factors that influence UN Security Council decision making and determine the role of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine for current and future cases of humanitarian crisis. The methodology for this thesis is primarily a study of two select cases of intrastate conflict. The thesis will compare the UN's responses to the war in Darfur and the conflict in Libya. In addition to the case studies, the study of contemporary literature will help to explain the current state of humanitarian intervention and R2P. The results of the research show that humanitarian intervention is legal under the UN Charter, used and accepted by the international community, and a legitimate tool of the United Nations. There are many political and logistical complications surrounding the use of humanitarian intervention, and UN Security Council decision making in the cases of Darfur and Libya was influenced by terminology and language, national interests, host state consent, other military campaigns, and the anticipated cost. Even though the policy has been difficult to implement, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine has emerged as the only potentially useful international policy for preventing domestic conflicts from escalating and is now an integral part of humanitarian intervention. Further development and integration of the R2P doctrine, based on these results, could help to prevent future humanitarian crises.



Responsibility to Protect, Humanitarian Intervention



Master of Arts (M.A.)


Political Studies


Political Science


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