History and Hope
The International Humanitarian Reader
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright
The pursuit of the goals of humanitarianism, whether through assistance or intervention, has no single way, follows no preconceived pattern. Almost by definition, each experience is different. This means, more perhaps than in any other human activity, that practitioners have to be ready to learn from experience and adapt to circumstance. ...
Acronyms and Abbreviations
As I prepare this book for publication, selecting chapters from twelve volumes in the International Humanitarian Affairs book series, editing, deleting, and updating texts so that they will be useful to students and practitioners for years to come, I offer, once again, my gratitude to all the past contributors, ...
History and Hope: The International Humanitarian Reader is a compendium drawn from some of the best chapters on various aspects of humanitarian assistance in a series that I have written or edited for Fordham University Press since 2001, numbering twelve volumes to date. ...
Part I. History
History and Hope opens, appropriately, with an essay on the modern history of humanitarian action, and a chapter detailing the ethical and legal foundations of the discipline. Both cite the dangers that recent trends, particularly the “war on terror,” pose to hard won, almost universally accepted, positions assuring the independence of international humanitarian assistance. ...
Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century: The Danger of a Setback
Humanitarian action as envisaged by Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross Movement, is both simple—it is based on the natural human tendency to respect a fellow human—and original—Dunant wished to apply that common sense principle in systematic fashion, even in war. ...
Humanitarian Ethical and Legal Standards
International instruments of human rights and of international humanitarian law are not the only sources providing these fundamental guarantees.2 International law is only one of the many sources of humanitarian standards. Legal mechanisms alone are insufficient to provide for an effective protection of fundamental human values. ...
Radio communication is vital in a relief and humanitarian setting; it is relatively cheap to establish—after the initial purchase of hardware—and costs nothing to run. Radio frequencies are normally allocated to various humanitarian actors by the national government; ...
Humanitarian Response in the Era of Global Mobile Information Technology
Technology is among the most difficult topics to tackle in a chapter designed to be relevant for more than a few months. The digital revolution has brought, and is still bringing, many positive changes to the world. In the humanitarian sector, technology has revitalized worldwide volunteerism through crowdsourcing, ...
Part II. Principles/Values
In this section, some of the humanitarian communities most distinguished practitioners reflect on fundamental principles and values. The former Directors of Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International provide cautionary advice— how one can sacrifice gains to the cause of expediency. ...
Neutrality or Impartiality
The construction of a new world order and the evolution of the United Nations after World War II have been guided by the principle: Never again! The Nazis’ unprecedented crimes became a benchmark for an international community founded on certain basic values: opposition to genocide, the search for world peace, and respect for human rights. ...
Torture has been and remains a constant in human society; its history is closely linked to the evolution of state powers and the exercise of authority.1 In all circumstances, the notion of torture has two essential elements: the purposeful infliction of pain, usually described as excruciating, and an ulterior motive in the interests of the authority responsible for the torture.2 ...
Issues of Power and Gender in Complex Emergencies
Two key issues dramatically affect the lives of women and children caught in the chaos of complex humanitarian emergencies: protection and equal access to relief goods and services. Equal access means that women and girls have the same access and rights to relief items, shelter, health services, access to clean water, sanitation facilities, ...
Terrorism: Theory and Reality
The semantics of studies on terrorism seem to strive more for political correctness than for presenting an accurate picture of the soil in which these terrible acts are usually born, gestate, and explode. Definitions divorced from reality offer, at best, a two dimensional view of a multifaceted problem. ...
A Human Rights Agenda for Global Security
Human rights are often used by governments as a cloak to put on or cast off according to political expediency, and the UN is often powerless to render states accountable for their adherence to international law and human rights performance. In the words of Michael Ignatieff: ...
Part III. Evolving Norms
Over the tumultuous half-century I have been involved in international humanitarian assistance, there have been, not surprisingly, shifting parameters and standards to help guide our actions. This section offers four important views of both positive and negative adaptation to the harsh realities and challenges of complex humanitarian crises. ...
The Limits of Sovereignty
Displacement in all its manifestations, internal and external, has become a global crisis of grave and escalating magnitude. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of people displaced within the borders of their own countries has soared to an estimated twenty to twenty-five million, and the number of refugees is now estimated at over eleven million. ...
The Child Protection Viewpoint
I offer personal, field-based perspectives on the often fraught relationship between education1 and child protection in armed conflict. This personal perspective, garnered from years working in the protection field, will remove us from the world of guidelines and policies and return us to the flesh-and-bone realities around the globe, ...
Preserving Humanitarian Space in Long-Term Conflict
With very few exceptions, it has been considered self-evident among those in the humanitarian community that to achieve a reasonable measure of success humanitarian action in conflict zones should be predicated upon notions of neutrality and impartiality. ...
Humanitarian Action in a New Barbarian Age
If the hope for human progress and for a better world can be said to rest on anything, it rests on the great documents of international law that have been promulgated since the end of the Second World War. These include, first and foremost, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ...
Part IV. Actors
The ultimate challenge early in humanitarian crises is to maintain a necessary equanimity in the face of terrible disorder, so that one can forge an effective response. One must channel the skills and energies of the multiple actors that are required to change, at first, chaos into a semblance of stability, and later, hopefully, into peace. ...
The Challenges of Preventive Diplomacy: The Role of the United Nations and Its Secretary-General
In matters of peace and security, as in medicine, prevention is self-evidently better than cure. It saves lives and money and it forestalls suffering. Since the end of the Cold War, preventive action has become a top priority for the United Nations. ...
Initial Response to Complex Emergencies and Natural Disasters
On January 17, 2002, one of Africa’s most active volcanoes unexpectedly erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As lava rapidly advanced toward the lakeside city below, fuel depots erupted into slow burning fires, tremors and shocks crumbled buildings and collapsed houses, heat and lava flows destroyed water and electrical systems, ...
The Peacekeeping Prescription
If I were a doctor examining the health of the world today, I would be greatly alarmed at the state of my patient. The international community, vibrant in its resolve to achieve a strong, stable, and healthy political environment as the post– Cold War era began, has been drained and weakened by one bout after another of violent conflict during the last decade. ...
Reviving Global Civil Society After September 11
9/11 challenged the American way of life in a manner that is unprecedented, and it is evolving with a significance of which we are only beginning to grasp. To uphold the blessings of democracy, we must start with the understanding that as members of a constitutional republic, we are citizens and not subjects. ...
The Academy and Humanitarian Action
Humanitarian action is ordinarily understood to involve a response to the needs of individuals and communities afflicted by different kinds of calamities, both those that are natural, like earthquakes and typhoons, and those that are the result of human intervention, like wars and political repression. ...
Government Responses to Foreign Policy Challenges
It is remarkable how much the preambles of constitutions have in common. Even when their authors come from different historical, religious, and cultural traditions, these documents extol the dignity of all citizens and defend the exercise of freedom and rights while proclaiming the unity of a people in a national politic. ...
Disasters and the Media
For the media, a disaster is not a tragedy. It is a challenge, an opportunity. A challenge for the traditional media to find out what is happening, how to get there, what is at stake, who is to blame. For the nontraditional media, the tweeters, Facebook friends, and bloggers, it is how to get the message out, ...
Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination: Looking Beyond the “Latest and Greatest”
There is a tendency, in a world of increasingly ephemeral attention spans, to pay greater attention to the “latest and greatest” developments to generalize about current topics. Behavioral psychologists and economists call this the “availability heuristic.” ...
Part V. Operational
In this section, four humanitarian specialists with extensive operational experience consider some of the specialized approaches that are essential in providing a comprehensive and efficient response to a complex emergency. There are accepted methods for rapid health assessments that will guide the early days in a disaster, ...
Evidence-Based Health Assessment Process in Complex Emergencies
Disaster assessment is defined as the “survey of a real or potential disaster to estimate the actual or expected damages and to make recommendations for preparedness, mitigation and relief action.”1 In natural disasters, such as rapid onset earthquakes and cyclones, the health consequences are usually the direct results of injury or death. ...
Teamwork in Emergency Humanitarian Relief Situations
Effective team functioning in disasters is often underestimated until it can no longer be ignored. The importance of teamwork to the success of a mission cannot be overemphasized. In the urgency of a disaster or a sudden public health threat everyone’s energy and focus is given to the technical components. ...
Education as a Survival Strategy: Sixty Years of Schooling for Palestinian Refugees
In times of war, still photography retains a singular ability to transfix and disturb. From the carefully crafted and sometimes dissembled compositions by the legendary annalists of the American Civil War to the “trophy shots” of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib, ...
What Can Modern Society Learn from Indigenous Resiliency?
The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 found that “a lot of knowledge about climate adaptation is not reaching those who need it the most.” How much more of a challenge is it, then, to get information, good practices, and capacity-building tools into the hands of indigenous communities using non-mainstream languages, ...
Part VI. Exit Strategies
After the immediate challenges of disasters are addressed survivors need to regain a sense of security, reuniting families and rebuilding community structures. This process should begin as soon as a relief program is developed for vulnerable, displaced people, ...
To Bind Our Wounds: A One-Year Post-9/11 Address
Throughout the centuries, those who survive disasters have offered memorials to the dead, and they have done so with different tools and different skills: Picasso did it for the victims of Guernica with oil paints. Verdi mourned the poet/patriot Manzoni with a musical masterpiece. ...
The Transition from Conflict to Peace
Humanitarian assistance workers may find themselves hopelessly confused by the range of problems facing a society struggling to move from war to peace. These problems can be approached from many directions: the shift from emergency relief into longer-range development assistance; ...
Humanitarianism’s Age of Reason
In postconflict situations, the first challenge is to identify the sequence of events preceding conflict resolution, and how one classifies what has apparently ended is of utmost importance. Was it really a conflict? Then, what kind of conflict was it? ...
Healing with a Single History
There is no democracy in which justice and the rule of law are not axiomatically assumed to be foundational principles. In 1895, Professor A. V. Dicey, the great English legal philosopher, defined the principles of the Rule of Law. ...
Part VII. Epilogue
This Reader concludes, as the International Humanitarian Affairs Book Series began, with a short essay combining dreams, hopes, and reality, and then with a poem. This chapter offers some philosophic reflections drawn from personal experiences in a career that has linked my own profession in clinical tropical medicine ...
The Evolution of a Tropicalist
The eighth Jubilee Edition of Tropical Medicine: A Clinical Text concludes with some personal reflections on my own professional journey. When the initial chapters of my first book were serialized in the New York State Journal of Medicine in 1961, I was a young physician who had been introduced to tropical infections on a fellowship in Calcutta, India. ...
List of Contributors
The Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
The Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC) was founded in 1992 to promote healing and peace in countries shattered by natural disasters, armed conflicts, and ethnic violence. The Center employs its resources and unique personal contacts to stimulate interest in humanitarian issues and to promote innovative educational programs and training models. ...