Human rights protection during conflict and in its immediate aftermath –

Order Description
Response –respond to the below noted post, the response should be at least 100 words. You will be assessed on your contribution to a dynamic discussion and your ability to respond to and analyse
arguments other than your own.
How can human rights be better protected during conflict and in its immediate aftermath?
Respond to this below noted post by Ms. Naomi Claire Steer
Meeting the challenge of better protecting human rights during conflict and its immediate aftermath is complex.It involves the application of a comprehensive and at times overlapping regime of
international and national law around human rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) ; the engagement of a diverse range of actors including state and non state parties,international and
multilateral bodies, regional organisations , NGO’s , civil society and the media ; and the employment of a range of tools and strategies including military, diplomatic ,economic and humanitarian
measures and interventions (Lockardt,2005). It also depends on how human rights concerns are addressed in peace making arrangements.
While the rules of war were designed to protect combatants and also civilians -in this context largely perceived of as collateral damage – new kinds of conflict and warfare mean that civilians are
now often the specific targets of human rights abuses as part of a concious military strategy (UNSG Report ,2001). Rape, torture,abduction and arbitary arrest are just some of the examples of human
rights abuses that are now common place despite the very comprehensive legal regimes in place.That being said , organisations like the ICRC work hard to educate parties in a conflict about their
legal obligations as well as the consequences of abuses including the possibility of criminal prosecution before the ICC or national courts. Despite the opposition of a number of African regimes to
the ICC, recent high profile ICC prosecutions may be more of a deterrent than previously apparent .
If a state is unwilling or unable to protect it’s citizens, outside intervention may be necessary ranging from human rights monitoring , diplomatic intervention (such as Kofi Annan ‘s mission to
Kenya during the 2007 election violence ) or military intervention ( such as the INTERFET force led by Australia in East Timor) . However experience shows that interventions ,through initiatives
such as R2P ,involve as many political considerations as human rights concerns.
Ultimately the best protection is prevention .There is a strong connection between human rights and conflict ,with both human rights abuses being a consequence of conflict as well as also a cause
(Parlevliet,2002). The exploration of structural causes of conflict , developing ongoing monitoring of human rights flashpoints , building internal institutional and civil society capacity
,restoration of rule of law and promoting human rights education campaigns are just some examples of preventative strategies (Parlevliet,2002).
Different approaches to human rights will have different outcomes for human rights protection. Taking a human rights approach for example focuses on justice and accountability .While it might
complicate or even delay the end of conflict ,human rights advocates argue there can be no peace without justice . Taking a conflict resolution approach on the other hand may mean resolving
conflict as the first priority – which may in turn mean working with human rights perpetrators .Mertus and Helsing (2006) argue however that this justice versus peace dilemma is false and that the
two approaches should be mutually reinforcing and complementary .They point to the inclusion of human rights conditions in peace agreements (eg El Salvador and Guatemala) and post conflict
constitutions (Mozambique and Namibia) as evidence this is already happening (Mertus and Helsing,2006,pp.512).They further suggest that this development is in part due to the role that
internationally and widely adopted IHL has played ,acting as as a bridge between the other two concepts and enabling human rights concerns to be included in peace making agendas without being seen
as being promoted by one side or the other to the conflict.(Mertus and Hesling, 2006,pp.510). In addition strategies around prioritisation and sequencing can also help resolve potential
Overall improving the protection of human rights during conflict and post conflict depends on many factors not least being the collective political will of both the international community and
states to provide the necessary resources and commitment to stem abuses and protect civilians.However the foundations for the protection of human rights longer term ,can be improved by ensuring
human rights concerns are addressed in peace making arrangements and in addressing structural causes of conflict in post conflict rebuilding and reform.The tension between accountability for human
rights abuses and the need to end conflict can be assisted by IHL to help integrate human rights concerns in longer term peacebuilding strategies.

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