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Keywords:

  • Responsibility to Protect (R2P);
  • humanitarian aid;
  • use of force;
  • sovereignty;
  • intervention

ABSTRACT

This essay addresses moral hazards associated with the emerging doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). It reviews the broad acceptance by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches of the doctrine between September 2003 and September 2008, and attempts to identify grounds for more adequate investigation of the moral issues arising. Three themes are pursued: how a changing political context is affecting notions of sovereignty; the authority that can approve or refuse the use of force; and plural foundations for human rights in a religiously and otherwise plural world such that the human rights protection does not become tyrannical.