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Critical Theory in Critical TimesTransforming the Global Political and Economic Order$
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Penelope Deutscher and Cristina Lafont

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231181518

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231181518.001.0001

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Human Rights, Sovereignty, and the Responsibility to Protect

Human Rights, Sovereignty, and the Responsibility to Protect

(p.47) 3 Human Rights, Sovereignty, and the Responsibility to Protect
Critical Theory in Critical Times

Cristina Lafont

Columbia University Press

In 2005 the General Assembly unanimously endorsed the Responsibility-to-Protect doctrine. This led to heated debates that suggest that principled commitments to human rights and sovereignty are on a collision course, so that we cannot have international enforcement of demanding human rights standards without simultaneously undermining the sovereign equality of states. To question this assumption, Lafont switches the focus of analysis from the context of military intervention to the global economic order. She shows how demanding international human rights standards can play an essential role in strengthening the sovereign equality of states within global institutions. On this basis, she offers an account of the international community’s responsibility to protect human rights that is more demanding than the currently acknowledged account and which avoids undermining the sovereignty of states.

Keywords:   Human rights, democratic sovereignty, responsibility to protect, international intervention, international law, functionalist approach to human rights

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