Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Humanitarian intervention refers to actions undertaken by an organization or organizations (usually a state or a coalition of states) that are intended to alleviate extensive human suffering within the borders of a sovereign state. Such suffering tends to be the result of a government instigating, facilitating, or ignoring the abuse of groups falling within its jurisdiction. This often takes the form of deliberate and systematic violations of human rights, including forced expulsions, “ethnic cleansing,” and, in the most extreme cases, genocide. Humanitarian intervention can apply also in situations where there is no effective government and civil order consequently has collapsed. Humanitarian intervention constitutes a calculated and uninvited breach of sovereignty (state rights) in the name of humanity (individual rights). Though humanitarian interventions do not necessarily require the employment of military force—as they could include, for example, the imposition of sanctions—the term refers normally to situations in which force (or the ...