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‘Responsibilty to Protect’ and ‘Functional Sovereignty’

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Chapter Summary

The concept of 'responsibility to protect' (R2P) is based on a specific conception of sovereignty, that is, of 'sovereignty as responsibility'. R2P is invariably linked to a particular understanding of State sovereignty. This chapter verbalizes this core idea of State sovereignty by using the notion of 'functional sovereignty'. Accordingly, basing R2P on the broader concept of 'functional sovereignty' enables one to broaden the current scope of R2P beyond the sphere of conscience-shocking violations of human rights and humanitarian norms to other forms of contempt of the 'international volonté générale'. At the heart of the conceptual evolution of R2P lies the conflict between State sovereignty on the one side and international solidarity with a State's desperately suffering population on the other side. Linking the concept of R2P to the concept of 'functional' sovereignty means that R2P does not only have a humanitarian dimension but also, an environmental or cultural dimension.

Keywords: cultural heritage; environmental degradation; functional sovereignty; humanitarian norms; international human rights; responsibility to protect (R2P); state sovereignty



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