Abstract

In an imperfect and unpredictable world, international human rights and humanitarian nongovernmental associations (INGOs) often face ethical dilemmas that constrain their efforts to do good in foreign lands. In this paper, we draw upon a recent dialogue between human rights practitioners and academics in order to identify some of the typical ethical dilemmas encountered by INGOs during the course of their work and to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with different ways of dealing with those dilemmas. We identify four kinds of ethical dilemmas frequently faced by INGOs: (1) conflicts between human rights principles and local cultural norms; (2) the tension between expanding and restricting the organization's mandate; (3) whether and how to collaborate with less-than-democratic governments; and (4) the ethical limits of fund-raising.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 300-329
Launched on MUSE
2004-05-19
Open Access
No
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