Blood and Borders

The Responsibility to Protect and the Problem of the Kin-State

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Inter-ethnic conflict and genocide have demonstrated the dangers of failing to protect people targeted by fellow citizens. When minority groups in one country are targeted for killings or ethnic cleansing based on their group identity, whose responsibility is it to protect them? In particular, are they owed any protective responsibility by their kin-state? How can cross-border kinship ties strengthen greater pannational identity across borders without challenging territorially defined national security? As shown by the Russia-Georgia conflict over South Ossetia, unilateral intervention by a kin-state can lead to conflict within and between states. The protection of national minorities should not be used as an excuse to violate state sovereignty and generate interstate conflict.



Brazilians in Paraguay: A growing internal problem or a regional issue?

Brazilians in Paraguay represent a prominent minority, a minority from the most powerful country in the region, which is eager to spread its influence, albeit through peaceful means. A number of incidents of a political, social and economic nature have reignited tensions on the two sides of the border. The April 2008 elections in Paraguay, won by Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop, supported by a broad coalition of mostly leftist opposition parties led by the Patriotic Alliance for Change (Paraguay’s second-largest party), increased expectations surrounding the rights and demands of the so-called Brasiguaios. Legislation concerning land and social rights has been passed, aimed at curbing the influence of Brazilian immigrants in agriculture. Although the Brazilian government has had a history of dialogue and accommodation towards its neighbours for more than a century, stronger words and attitudes in order to protect its citizens in the neighbouring country might appear to be justifiable in the long run.


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