Uniform Exceptions and Rights Violations

Social Theory and Practice 36 (1):44-77 (2010)
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Non-uniformed combat morally infringes on civilians’ fundamental right to immunity and exacts an impermissible form of unofficial conscription that is morally prohibited even if the civilians knowingly consent to it. It is often argued that revolutionary groups burdened by resource disparities relative to the state or who claim alternative sources of political legitimacy (such as national self-determination or the constitution of a political collective) are justified in using unconventional tactics such as non-uniformed combat. Neither those reasons nor the provision of public goods, however, are sufficient to justify such rights violations and this form of conscription, and it calls into question the suitability of current international legal protections for the non-uniformed.

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Yvonne Chiu
U.S. Naval War College


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