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Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations$
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Jennifer M. Welsh

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267217

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199267219.001.0001

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Limiting Sovereignty

Limiting Sovereignty

Chapter:
(p.11) 2 Limiting Sovereignty
Source:
Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations
Author(s):

Henry Shue (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199267219.003.0002

Employs historical analysis and philosophical reasoning to argue that sovereignty is inherently limited. The writings of classical theorists such as Grotius and Vattel indicate that aspirations to sovereignty and non-intervention have always been tempered by considerations above and beyond the state. Philosophically, it must be remembered that sovereignty is a right, and the concept of a right makes no sense in the absence of a corresponding duty. The duties that are constitutive of the rights of sovereignty constrain the behaviour of every sovereign belonging to international society. Two conclusions follow. First, there are limits on how states may treat their own citizens within their own territory. Second, other states face specific limits concerning the ill-treatment of residents within the territory of other states that they are free to ignore. In particular, genocide and massive violations of human rights are a matter of concern for all states in contemporary international society.

Keywords:   basic rights, Christian Wolff, David Miller, default duties, Emmerich de Vattel, external sovereignty, Friedrich Kratochwil, genocide, Henry Shue, Hugo Grotius, human rights, insufficient motive, internal sovereignty, Michael Walzer, non-intervention, Rwanda

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