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Sovereignty after the Second World War

Sovereignty after the Second World War

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter Five Sovereignty after the Second World War
Source:
Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect
Author(s):
Luke Glanville
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226077086.003.0006

This chapter traces the establishment by international society of the supposed “traditional” rights of sovereign states to self-government and freedom from outside interference, only for the first time, in the UN Charter in 1945, and examines how these rights were constructed in uneasy tension with provisions demanding respect for “human rights.” It argues that this tension can be understood as one between competing visions of sovereignty which had been hinted at since the French Revolution. The chapter then traces the process of decolonization over the next two decades, noting that arguments for sovereign self-government were grounded in human rights principles, just as they had been for the eighteenth-century revolutionaries, but insisting that what this meant for the rules of sovereignty remained a matter of contestation. The chapter finally examines developments in the tension between the sovereign right to non-intervention and the idea that sovereigns had a responsibility to promote and defend the human rights upon which their sovereignty was grounded during the Cold War.

Keywords:   Cold War, Decolonization, Human Rights, Non-intervention, Self-government, Sovereignty, UN Charter

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