People get used to thinking that war is something impermissible, wrong, and unnecessary for society. However, a war can be allowed and even desirable in case it has a just cause, right intentions, and the protection of human rights as its core. People may consider war as just only in case all possible non-violent ideas and options are exhausted, and violence is used as a means to cover injuries. It is wrong to believe that the war and its outcomes may be justified in regards to a human rights perspective, still, sometimes, it is impossible to find another way out of a situation. A discussion of a just war in a human rights perspective helps to realize that the combination of such different and conflicting concepts is possible, and the just war should be regarded as an opportunity to establish a lasting peace, protect and respect human rights, and offer a new idea for society.
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Human rights are regarded as a class of rights that play a crucial role in the development of foreign policy, politic relations, and even some economic affairs. When a war is about to begin, people, who start the war, have to understand the role of human rights in the process of making decisions and clearly identify the peculiarities of the just war. A just war has the following characteristics: a just cause, good intentions, chance of success, and respect for human rights. Human rights philosophers like John Rawls, Henry Shue, and Michael Walzer make an attempt to “ground just war theory partly or wholly on human rights” (Chan 134). They say that war has to be accepted as an ability to protect human rights, still, this kind of perspective faces two main challenges – an inability to interpret the problems that may appear during the war and combine the standards of human rights on local and national levels (Chan 134). People cannot understand how the protection of human rights as the main reason for a just war can be used by those people who participate in the war directly. What about the rights of soldiers, who are also people, and have all human rights? The answer to this question varies on a number of factors like the reasons why soldiers join the war, soldiers’ attitudes to the civilians, chances to overcome the use of violence, etc. Regardless of the duties that should be performed during the just war, all people have to be respected, and their human rights have to be equally considered. Only in this case, military actions leading to human sacrifices may be identified as just and permissible.
In general, a human rights perspective in regards to a just war deserves much attention. People are eager to use the idea of human rights’ defense as one of the most frequent reasons to justify their actions during the war. Men of arms believe that they protect their rights, improve the current living conditions, and think about the better future when they start wars, even just wars. Unfortunately, people forget that even just wars may take human lives. Of course, it is easy to talk about just wars, right intentions, and thoughts about the future if military actions do not touch upon directly. However, any kind of war will always be something terrible that has to be overcome by any possible means even if a human rights perspective is discussed, because no idea may justify a single civilian life.
Chan, David, K. Beyond Just War: A Virtue Ethics Approach. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print.