Humanitarian concern is also one of the basis used by states to intervene in the affairs of another state (Wallace 264). Hence, when a State manifests cruelties or persecution of its own nationals to the extent of depriving them their fundamental human rights, intervention in the interest of humanity is permissible (Coquia and Santiago 120). Humanitarian intervention have become part of customary international law to prevent atrocities committed in several States and which were also considered a breach of peace (Coquia and Santiago 120). This was what happened in the Bangladesh incident, where “ India in 1971, used large-scale military forces in Pakistan on the allegation that said state was violating minimal standards of human rights in East Bengal by killing and imprisoning large numbers of the population, causing mass flights or refugees to India” (Franck and Rodley 1973).
This case was one of the example where the unilateral use of military force was justified on grounds of human rights (Coquia and Santiago 120). The UN Relief operation in Northern Iraq following the Gulf War in 1990-91 was also an example of an intervention based on humanitarian concerns (Wallace 262).
Reports of thousands of deaths of Kurdish refugees fleeing Iraqi troops prompted the UN Security council then to pass Resolution 688 (Wallace 262). This resolution condemned the repression of civilian population and insisted the immediate access to Iraq of international humanitarian organizations in order to help those in need (Wallace 262). Although the intention of this kind of intervention is seemingly important in order to protect the humanitarian concerns but which might be essentially civil-war conflicts, international response to humanitarian crises however have been inconsistent especially in the 1990s in connection with the operations of the UN (Wallace 264).
There still might be some conflicts as to what extent of human suffering must be manifested in order that lawful intervention in a state’ s sovereignty may be justified.
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