Transnational Protection

The end of the cold war with its latent danger of an atomic apocalypse has, for many people, left the world in a state far from being a safe place where everybody can ‘manger en paix’ (meaning: being able to eat peacefully two meals per day). For sustainable development of humanity, a prosperous and sound world economy, and the preservation of a biosphere really worth living in, security, stability, and fair political and economic conditions are crucial.

In the majority of cases, women and children suffer more under the civil war type conditions in fragile or failed states than the men under arms. They are practically at the mercy of the rivalry. ‘Protection’ relates to actively helping to spare civilians from harm inflicted by conflicting parties, criminal gangs, or dominant members within the own group (ingroup). The worldwide acting national and supranational organizations and institutions with legitimized assignments of protection have admittedly been able to save innumerable lives, but have failed in some cases: Ruanda, Bosnia – or simply do not want to get (deeply) involved in others: South Sudan, Congo, Uganda (terror of the Lord’s Resistance Army).

States with extraterritorial protective capabilities set priorities and take into consideration financial or military constraints, the public opinion and political hurdles needed to be taken – especially if no direct and immediate self-interests (‘raisons d’état’) are affected. Of course, international organizations such as the ICRC and NGOs like Médecins sans Frontières, Amnesty International and many more as well as the UN with the UNCHR, UNICEF or IOM perform very important, unarmed protection jobs.

Protective measures based on armed force or other means of pressure by non-Governmental, thus transnationally acting parties, can present another supplementary option, in the case of existentially threatened groups of humans anywhere in the world.

On the drawing board

  • Piracy in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia is a major problem for international shipping. Despite naval ships convoying safely commercial ships, many dozens of ships and hundreds of crew members are taken hostage by pirates. Somalia has failed as state, and no one dares to say how it will look in some years from now. Furthermore, it is unpredictable how long international marine units will be available for convoys. EAGLE RAYS is a juristic study with regard to a system of which the operative key consists of letting armed, transnational security escorts aboard the cargo and passenger ships travelling through pirate waters. These security personnel would embark, disembark and re-embark at strategic points, from stationed mother ships, platforms or harbors. Whereas the economic and political benefits of such operations are evident, the ethical justification is of not less importance, since it is the women and children of Somalia that suffer under the chronic feuds and political fragmentation in the region – significantly nourished by the piracy business. Download EAGLE RAYS
  • A new concept of Transnational Humanitarian Protection (THP) including an opportune corresponding institutional framework is drafted. THP has to abide by a binding ethics code (with the protection of victims as paramount principle). Its operational bodies have to be able to act independently, but based on international law (however, not necessarily on international resolutions) and rules of engagement, within sound and durable non-governmental structures. THP operations could be financed (also in advance) through open or concealed official sources, privates or in agreement with legitimate representatives of the group to be protected. Reliance, discipline, and pragmatism, paired with the will to contribute to de-escalation, and to pave the way for negotiations in which the victims dignity is respected, would foster the appreciation of the THP units by the international community over time. THP units would fundamentally and in a self-evident way differ from profit driven security firms, Private Military Companies (PCM) and mercenaries.
  • Essay: The expedience of fighter based interception and coverage of ground combats for the national defense of Switzerland in times of asymmetric wars.
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