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Out now: State Sovereignty and the Protection of Human Rights. How Military Humanitarian Intervention is Supported by Citizens Around the World

Jürgen, Gerhards, Lukas Antoine & Rasmus Ollroge (2024)

News from Apr 24, 2024

The article was recently published in the International Journal of Sociology [open access].


According to international law, the sovereignty of nation-states and the rights of individuals constitute two equally important principles. However, in instances when a state massively violates human rights, then priority is given to the protection of individuals over the self-determination of the state, thereby justifying humanitarian military intervention. This paper presents findings from a survey across 26 countries, analyzing citizen support for such intervention. We find that the majority of respondents supports military intervention to protect human rights. To explain the differences in support, we draw on world society theory and modernization theory. At first sight, world society theory offers a better framework for understanding citizens' attitudes towards military intervention. However, charcateristics derived from modernization theory are affected by a “suppression effect:” individuals living in more modernized countries and holding postmaterialist values endorse enforcing human rights but concurrently reject the use of military force.

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