Principles of sovereignty and human rights

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In an effort to ensure peaceful co-existence or, at least, minimise the potential for conflict and violence, the community of nations agreed upon a set of principles, or international laws, pertaining to sovereignty and the rights and limitations of states.


The principle of sovereignty holds that no nation may intervene in the affairs of another. On the other hand, international humanitarian laws hold that nation states must govern within the limits of respect for the human rights of their populace and upon the blatant violation of those rights, is rendered vulnerable to international humanitarian intervention. Even though, the previous phrasing lends to the assumption of an inherent conflict between human rights and sovereignty, this is not necessarily the case. In brief, as long as nation states adhere to the internationally recognized principles of human rights which they agreed upon and adopted through membership in the United Nations, their right to self-determination and autonomy are inviolable. It is only when they transgress upon the aforementioned do they become vulnerable to legitimate humanitarian intervention, implying infringement upon their sovereignty. Human rights and sovereignty are, accordingly, compatible and not necessarily contentious and conflicting principles. As one moves from the realm of theory to practice, however, one finds that the concept of humanitarian intervention has often been misused and abused for the purposes of justifying transgression against the sovereign rights of nations. .
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