Research Handbook on International Law and Peace
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Research Handbook on International Law and Peace

Edited by Cecilia M. Bailliet

Peace is an elusive concept, especially within the field of international law, varying according to historical era and between contextual applications within different cultures, institutions, societies, and academic traditions. This Research Handbook responds to the gap created by the neglect of peace in international law scholarship. Explaining the normative evolution of peace from the principles of peaceful co-existence to the UN declaration on the right to peace, this Research Handbook calls for the fortification of international institutions to facilitate the pursuit of sustainable peace as a public good.
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Chapter 8: Traps of violence: a human rights analysis of the relationship between peace and sustainable development

Bård A. Andreassen


This chapter addresses how the doctrine of ‘structural violence’ refers to violence where social structures, relations, and institutions threaten peoples’ basic interests and needs. It is inherently related to social injustices and the failure to fulfil basic human rights. The right to development discourse, as it developed in the late 1990s with reference to the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, provides a framework for analysing such structural violence from new perspectives that combine various types of rights in analysing social injustices, poverty, and ‘failed development’. The chapter explores the argument that the main constraint on development may not be a poverty trap (i.e., that people living in poverty lack capacities and access to productive resources that can enable them to move out of poverty), but rather traps of violence that constrain development at both macro and micro levels. Lack of functioning legal structures and institutions for rights protection and public policies addressing poverty are important factors explaining the difficulties of escaping poverty.

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