The guerrilla strikes back: a comment on Yvonne Chiu

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Uwe Steinhoff


In a recent article Yvonne Chiu argues that nonuniformed combat is impermissible. However, her argument that by fighting without uniforms nonuniformed guerillas coerce civilians into participating in the armed conflict and thus into surrendering their immunity (their right not to be attacked) fails: there is no coercion, no participation, and no surrendering of immunity. Yet even if this argument of hers were correct, it would still not show that such “coercion” would amount to a rights infringement. Moreover, even if it did, there are examples that show that such an infringement would sometimes be perfectly justified. Finally, if she were right that forcing civilians into a moral position that they have not accepted or chosen is absolutely wrong, then this would affect the moral status of uniformed combatants no less than it would affect the moral status of nonuniformed ones.


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Steinhoff, Uwe. 2011. “The Guerrilla Strikes Back: A Comment on Yvonne Chiu”. Diametros, no. 30 (December):61-75.
Author Biography

Uwe Steinhoff, University of Hong Kong

dr. Uwe Steinhoff Assistant Professor Department of Politics and Public Administration University of Hong Kong Pokfulam Road Hong Kong
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