|Abstract: ||This thesis argues for the use of Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) as a new alternative to traditional warfare and their use to prevent collective humiliation and resentment on the losing side and trauma associated with killing on the winning side. In order to achieve this aim, militaries need to be transformed into policing units with a stronger emphasis on defence, without resorting to lethal tactics.
The ethical framework for this discussion is Alan Gewirth’s rationalist communitarian rights philosophy, with exception to Gewirth’s assertion that conscripting citizens to fight in wars can be morally justified. This thesis argues that conscription is a clear violation of human rights and that it is contradictory to Gewirth’s theoretical emphasis on individual’s rights as well as the need for a supportive and nurturing state.
Through an analysis of the proponents and the critics of NLW, this thesis concludes that if used properly, NLW have the potential to greatly reduce suffering and death of non-combatants as well as combatants in violent conflicts. Arguably, this measure would not only greater facilitate the upholding of human rights, but also offer the possibility for reconciliation between states.|