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Humanitarian Intervention

If Countries Like Sudan Zimbabwe and Burma Will Not End Their Man-Made Humanitarian Crisis, The International Community Should...


December 1, 2008

In a world of failed and failing states, does the international community and Canada have a responsibility to intervene, including militarily, in the affairs of nations that grossly fail to protect their citizens' human rights? Or, have we learned in recent years that the use of force against sovereign states necessarily creates more problems that it solves?

The second Munk Debate explored the merits and pitfall of humanitarian interventions by debating the resolution: If countries like Sudan, Somalia and Burma will not end their man-made humanitarian crises, the international community should.

Debate Results

Pre-Debate Results

77% Pro 23% Con

Post-Debate Results

68% Pro 32% Con

CON gains 9%. CON wins



Gareth Evans

“The core idea of the responsibility to protect is very simple. Turn the notion of "right to intervene" upside down. Talk not about the "right" of big states to do anything, but the responsibility of all states to protect their own people from atrocity crimes, and to help others to do so.”

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Mia Farrow

“Does Mr. Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games? Do the various television sponsors around the world want to share in that shame? Because they will. Unless, of course, all of them add their singularly well-positioned voices to the growing calls for Chinese action to end the slaughter in Darfur.”

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John Bolton

“We ought to be concerned about this so-called right of humanitarian intervention - a right of intervention that is just a gleam in one beholder's eye but looks like flat-out aggression to somebody else.”

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Rick Hillier

“We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”

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