I have been thinking about this for a little while…. Humanitarian intervention. When is it okay? Is it legal? Do gross human right violations obligate us to take a stand and protect any innocent human being from harm regardless of where they happen to be living? Or do sovereign boarders prevent us from doing so? Does a mutual obligation exist between individuals in different states? Does the government of one particular sovereign have any obligation to protect the individual citizens in a nearby state?
My thoughts? Yes. Of course we are obligated to do anything within our power to protect innocent people from harm. Why? Because if we don’t, who will help us should we be in harms way?
In Rwanda, we did not intervene soon enough, what happened? The genocide of approximately 800,000 innocents happened.
What else happened? The rape of over 250,000 women happened. Horrendous? It gets worse this did three things:
One, it led to high levels of HIV infection amongst the targeted women, amounting to “slow motion genocide.”
Two, by traumatising while communities using this obscene “weapon of war” soldiers were able to completely undermine the social fabric of the targeted of the community, breaking down individuals capacity to protect themselves and fight back in the long and short term.
Three, breaking the hope for a secure future inter generational trauma caused by putting women through so much trauma that they struggle to parent their children, leading to the next generation suffering their own trauma issues etc – the cycle continues…
I could site hundreds of individual and national cases of inter generational trauma having a negative impact on contemporary Australia: from Rwanda, to Congo, to Burma and a dozen locations in between people have suffered immensely and we have stood by in actively – stating that it isn’t our place to intervene. But intervene we must….
I will explain more in my next post about how and why we must intervene in times of humanitarian crisis and how this impacts upon Australia on both a national and individual level.