Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention: World Politics and the Dilemmas of Help


There are two distinct contemporary challenges to the relief of war-induced human suffering: one that occurs within the institutions that make up the international humanitarian system, the other in war zones. Varied interests, resources, and organizational structures within institutions hamper the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations. At the same time- on the ground- ethical, legal, and operational challenges and dilemmas continually arise that require humanitarian actors to choose a course of action with associated necessary evils. Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention shows how institutional concerns- combined with the domestic context of armed conflicts- often yield policies that do not serve the immediate requirements of victims for relief, stabilization, and community reconstruction. Based on case studies of the post- Cold War experience in Central America, northern Iraq, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, the authors make recommendations for a more effective and efficient humanitarian system.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boulder, CO
Publication year:
  • 1996


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