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Humanitarian Intervention | Head To Head Debate | Oxford Union

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Published on May 29, 2019

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Global inaction has been criticised for exacerbating humanitarian crises, with the atrocities committed in Rwanda continuing to weigh on the conscience of the international community. However, in light of recent failures in foreign intervention, including Iraq and Libya, the West has had a crisis of confidence in its ability to meet its “Responsibility to Protect”.

From the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar, to the man-made famine in war-torn Yemen, to Assad’s re-consolidation of power in Syria, the international community faces a reckoning with what it means to pursue humanitarian aims in foreign policy. Faced with these dilemmas, should intervention continue to be seen as the appropriate solution for humanitarian crises? Or are the long-term results produced worse than the consequences of inaction?

PROPOSITION: Professor David N. Gibbs: Professor of History at the University of Arizona, who has written the widely acclaimed book "First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia".

OPPOSITION: Michael Chertoff: American attorney who served as US Secretary of Homeland Security and co-authored the United States Patriot Act whilst Assistant US Attorney General.

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