Human Rights and Humanitarian Norms, Strategic Framing, and Intervention

Lessons for the Responsibility to Protect

By Melissa Labonte

© 2012 – Routledge

226 pages | 15 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138811683
pub: 2015-04-27
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Hardback: 9780415621601
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About the Book

The human rights and humanitarian landscape of the modern era has been littered with acts that have shocked the moral conscience of mankind, and there has been wide variation in whether, how, and to what degree states respond to mass atrocity crimes, even when they share similar characteristics. In many cases concerned states responded, either through moral suasion; gentle or coercive diplomacy; or other non-forcible measures, to prevent or halt the indiscriminate human rights violations that were occurring. In others, states simply turned away and left the vulnerable to their fate. And still yet in other cases, states responded robustly, using military force to stop the atrocities and save lives.

This book seeks to examine the effects of strategic framing in U.S. and UN policy arenas to draw conclusions regarding whether and how the human rights and humanitarian norms embedded within such frames resonated with decision-makers and, in turn, how they shaped variation in levels of political will concerning humanitarian intervention in three cases that today would qualify as Responsibility to Protect (R2P) cases: Somalia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Labonte concludes that in order for humanitarian interventions to stand a higher likelihood of being effective, states advocating in support of such actions must find a way to persuade policymakers by appealing to both the logic of consequences (which rely on material and pragmatic considerations) and logic of appropriateness (which rely on normatively appropriate considerations) – and strategic framing may be one path to achieve this outcome.

Offering a detailed and examination of three key cases and providing some an original and important contribution to the field this work will be of great interest to students and scholars alike.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Contemporary humanitarian intervention in theory and practice 2. Making a good argument and mobilizing political will 3. Human intervention in Somalia 4. Failure to intervene in Rwanda 5. Mixed intervention in Sierra Leone 6. Strategic framing, norms, and civilian protection: can R2P succeed where humanitarian intervention has failed?

About the Author

Melissa Labonte is assistant professor of political science at Fordham University.

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has three "streams" identified by one of three cover colors:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.
  • Green covers will soon offer one-stop accounts for the major theoretical approaches to global governance and international organization.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General
POL011000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POL011010
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy