Subject: Humanitarian Intervention
and the Responsibility to Protect
Moved By: Ms. Karen Rinehart
Pidcock from the Diocese of Kootenay
Seconded By: The Very Rev.
Peter Wall from the Diocese of Niagara
Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.
BE IT RESOLVED:
That this General Synod:
- Commend the work being undertaken by Project Ploughshares on “Fulfilling
our Responsibility to the Vulnerable: A Study Resource on Intervention”
– looking into the question of humanitarian intervention into sovereign
states for the purpose of protecting vulnerable citizens.
- Request the EcoJustice Committee, during the 2004-2007 triennium:
- to coordinate Anglican participation in this work
- to undertake and encourage theological and ethical reflection on this
- to facilitate the use of any resulting materials from the Project
Ploughshares initiative in Canadian Anglican constituencies.
- Several recent global developments point to the need to consider whether
and in what circumstances “humanitarian intervention” is called
for, that is, external intervention into sovereign states by the international
community to relieve suffering and protect vulnerable populations. The so-called
"right of humanitarian intervention" has been one of the most
controversial foreign policy issues of the last decade - both when intervention
has happened, as in Kosovo, and when it has failed to happen, as in Rwanda.
- Differences are evident in the positions taken by Canadian churches.
In the case of Iraq, Canadian churches strongly opposed the war in Iraq,
and rejected its justification by US and British authorities as a humanitarian
action to liberate Iraqis from a tyrannical regime. In the case of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Canadian churches appealed to the Government of Canada
for more effective intervention to protect the most vulnerable populations
in the DRC.
- The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, established
by the Government of Canada, published Responsibility to Protect in 2001.
The report :
- challenges states to accept sovereignty as a responsibility
- emphasizes the duty of states to ensure the safety and security of
their citizens. When they fail or are unwilling to do so, this responsibility
falls to the international community.
- emphasizes the responsibility of the international community to see
to the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and all international
treaties and agreements.
- Project Ploughshares has initiated a consultation project (#005-Appendix
E) among member churches to reflect together on the responsibility to protect
the vulnerable and related issues, and to help them engage their constituencies
in thinking through the issue in ethical, theological, practical, and political
- Participation in this project offers an opportunity for the Anglican
Church of Canada to add to and go beyond the ethical frameworks of just
war theories and the pursuit of just peace, and to build on the theological
principles of subsidiarity and partnership, used within
the Anglican Communion to describe our understanding of what it is to be
- Applying the principle of Partnership means that we would
be unwilling to intervene in a regional conflict - even if other indications
were that this might be helpful - unless there was a clear indication
from partners in the region that such intervention would he helpful
- Subsidiarity is the principle that issues should be resolved
at the most local level possible. This would mean that outside intervention
should only be considered if the local structures of civil society have
broken down so definitively that no strictly local or regional solution
is going to bring a just peace.
||(name of committee, diocese, etc.)
||Ms. Sue Winn, Chair