Government inaction on alleged human rights violations

Other Names:
Government non-assistance to endangered peoples

Reports of extreme violations of human rights in a country, especially those which take the form of the massacre of civilians, do not necessarily lead to action on the part of other governments. Whilst governments may express disapproval, whether individually or collectively (such as through the United Nations), and urge the restoration of peace, concrete measures to assist the endangered peoples are seldom taken unless the incident is perceived to serve the national interests of the assisting government. The principal reason for such non-involvement results from the principle of non-interference of one government in the internal affairs of another. A second reason is that any such interference can be viewed and labelled by other countries as a form of aggression calling for counter-measures which would escalate the incident.


Pleas to western countries by the peoples of Hungary and Czechoslovakia on the occasion of the USSR suppression of their revolt were not acted upon. No action was taken by outside governments to counteract the massacres of Cambodian civilians by the Khmer Rouge, or the massacres of Ugandan civilians by the regime of Idi Amin. Governments were careful not to act in response to the massacres of civilians on the occasion of the revolution in Romania. In response to the Tianamen Square massacre, human rights groups in the USA consider that the US President enacted the minimum sanctions that an outraged public in the USA would permit whilst actively working against further sanctions that Congress sought to impose.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST