Global Policy Forum

In the Footsteps of Hammarskjöld: the United Nations and Interventions for Security and Development


This report brings an interesting perspective on the interventionist role of the UN from Dag Hammarskjöld’s legacy to the emergence of a “culture of protection” as recently incarnated by R2P. Henning Melber sheds light on the rhetoric of Western moral obligation to intervene, which engendered an “increasingly explicit linkage of the security/military agenda and the humanitarian agenda.” While he does not reject the doctrine, Melber warn about the risks of “too uncritically accepting the notions as free of interest by those who promote them.” As for its application, he wisely recalls that “foreign intervention is neither a guarantee to protect humans from further atrocities, nor a secure point of departure for peaceful sustainable nation building.” One major problem is that the R2P doctrine is now widely applied at the UN despite a clear lack of standards to apply it, which makes it impossible “to reach a factually based conclusion about whether an intervention reduced bloodshed or increased the number of victims.”

By Henning Melber

November 2012

To read the full report, click here


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