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The Evolution of a Responsibility to Protect in Africa: The African Unions Emerging Peace and Security Regime
Dalarna University, School of Health and Social Studies, Political Science.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

The thesis focuses on, and tries to evaluate, the role that the African Union (AU) plays in protecting the peace and security on the African continent. The thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach to the topic by both utilizing international relations and international law theories. The two disciplines are combined in an attempt to understand the evolution of the AU’s commitment to the pragmatist doctrine: responsibility to protect (R2P). The AU charter is considered to be the first international law document to cover R2P as it allows the AU to interfere in the internal affairs of its member states. The R2P doctrine was evolved around the notion of a need to arrive at a consensus in regard to the right to intervene in the face of humanitarian emergencies. A part of the post-Cold War shift in UN behaviour has been to support local solutions to local problems. Hereby the UN acts in collaboration with regional organizations, such as the AU, to achieve the shared aspirations to maintain international peace and security without getting directly involved on the ground. The R2P takes a more holistic and long-term approach to interventions by including an awareness of the need to address the root causes of the crisis in order to prevent future resurrections of conflicts. The doctrine also acknowledges the responsibility of the international community and the intervening parties to actively participate in the rebuilding of the post-conflict state. This requires sustained and well planned support to ensure the development of a stable society. While the AU is committed to implementing R2P, many of the AU’s members are struggling, both ideologically and practically, to uphold the foundations on which legitimate intervention rests, such as the protection of human rights and good governance. The fact that many members are also among the poorest countries in the world adds to the challenges facing the AU. A lack of human and material resources leads to a situation where few countries are willing, or able, to support a long-term commitment to humanitarian interventions. Bad planning and unclear mandates also limit the effectiveness of the interventions. This leaves the AU strongly dependent on regional powerbrokers such as Nigeria and South Africa, which in itself creates new problems in regard to the motivations behind interventions. The current AU charter does not provide sufficient checks and balances to ensure that national interests are not furthered through humanitarian interventions. The lack of resources within the AU also generates worries over what pressure foreign nations and other international actors apply through donor funding. It is impossible for the principle of “local solutions for local problems? to gain ground while this donor conditionality exists. The future of the AU peace and security regime is not established since it still is a work in progress. The direction that these developments will take depends on a wide verity of factors, many of which are beyond the immediate control of the AU.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Falun, 2010. , 98 p.
Keyword [en]
International law, Humanitarian interventions, Responsibility to protect, AU, UN
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-5710OAI: diva2:519118
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-08-20 Created: 2011-08-20 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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