Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

humanitarian organisations find their place in war. That is not nothing, and it makes IHL worth defending. To expect more is to forget what it is, at bottom, and delude ourselves about its virtues. To imply that war can be civilised by law is to ignore the political realities of both law and war. Henry Dunant talked about creating ‘oases of humanity’ in the flood of violence that is war. Let us take that at its word; humanitarians try, with varying but real success, to create oases of at least some humanity, whether medical facilities or places where food and survival kits

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

humanitarianism, humanity, human 73 4 Humanitarianism, 1 humanity, human A few people have a bed for the night For a night the wind is kept from them The snow meant for them falls on the roadway – Bertolt Brecht2 Brecht’s poem A Bed for the Night tells how a man stands on a street corner in New York soliciting beds for the homeless. Although this ‘won’t change the world’, it does mean ‘a few men have a bed for the night’. The reader is called upon not to ‘put the book down on reading this’, because there is more to be said. What remains to be said is the

in Change and the politics of certainty
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

distinction sits uncomfortably with the equality inherent in the core humanitarian principle of humanity, and that the reasons for the distinction are not self-evident, I ask three questions. How does the policy and practice of ‘civilian protection’ differ from that of ‘staff security’? Why do they differ in this way? What are the consequences of this distinction? In addressing these questions, I draw on and contribute to a range of literature, not only on staff security and civilian protection but also on the nature and evolution of the humanitarian project more broadly

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

The after-effects of mass atrocity – bodies and bones – struggle to be defined within memorial projects. This article seeks to examine the politics at play in displaying dead bodies to interrogate the role of materiality in efforts to memorialise and raise awareness about on-going violences. It focusses on the nexus between evidence, dignity, humanity and memory to explore bone display in Rwanda. It then takes up two artistic projects that play on the materiality of human remains after atrocity: the art of Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who took ashes from an urn at the Majdanek concentration camp and used them as the material for his painting, and the One Million Bones Project, an installation that exhibits ceramic bones to raise awareness about global violence. In thinking about the intersections between human biomatter, art and politics, the article seeks to raise questions about both production and consumption: how bones and ashes of the dead are produced, and how they are consumed by viewers when placed on display in a variety of ways.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

aid. At a time of great uncertainty in the world, increased instrumentalisation of humanitarianism and heightened expectations of aid actors to ‘do no harm’ as they prevent, respond to and ease suffering in times of crisis, taking a moment to reflect on various aspects of that response and to consider the humanity within humanitarian action can only be a positive step. Put simply, there is great value in asking what happened? How can we translate the considerable knowledge that has been accumulated in the humanitarian sector (from institutional memory to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

for at least eighty years. Consider, for example, the canonical statement of modern humanitarianism, the seven fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Under ‘humanity’, the Red Cross talks of ‘assistance without discrimination’ and of its purpose as being ‘to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being’. The ‘impartiality’ requirement says: ‘It [the Red Cross] makes no discrimination as to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

the myth of Babel. 3 Set in an imaginary context, it describes a universal ‘syndrome’ of the struggle for power. It is suggestive for those who seek to explain recent changes in international relations and in the security strategy of the US. According to the myth of the Tower of Babel, humanity, after the Great Flood, was united and spoke just one language and had just one system of values. It sought to build a tower to reach heaven. But God, taking this as a challenge to his exclusive authority, divided humanity, scattering people and giving each

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

. Cross , J. and Street , A. ( 2009 ) ‘ Anthropology at the Bottom of the Pyramid ’, Anthropology Today , 25 : 4 , 4 – 9 . Dodgson , K. and Genc , D. ( 2017 ), ‘ Blockchain for Humanity ’, 29 November ( London : Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) ), (accessed 15 February 2018 ). Duffield , M. ( 1981 ), Maiurno: Capitalism and Rural Life in Sudan ( London : Ithaca Press

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

The trial of Maurice Papon 8 The trial of Maurice Papon for crimes against humanity and the concept of bureaucratic crime Robert Boyce The trial of Maurice Papon in the assize court of Bordeaux over the winter of 1997–98 was noteworthy for several reasons. In the first place, the crimes for which he was charged had been committed more than half a century before the trial began. None of the three judges and only one of the nine jurors had even been born at the time the crimes occurred.1 To assist the jurors to understand the circumstances surrounding the case

in Domestic and international trials, 1700–2000
Setting the precedent

This book is an attempt at a comprehensive presentation of the history of humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century, the heyday of this controversial doctrine. It starts with a brief presentation of the present situation and debate. The theoretical first part of the book starts with the genealogy of the idea, namely the quest for the progenitors of the idea in the sixteenth and seventeenth century which is a matter of controversy. Next the nineteenth century ‘civilization-barbarity’ dichotomy is covered and its bearing on humanitarian intervention, with its concomitant Eurocentric/Orientalist gaze towards the Ottomans and other states, concluding with the reaction of the Ottomans (as well as the Chinese and Japanese). Then the pivotal international law dimension is scrutinized, with the arguments of advocates and opponents of humanitarian intervention from the 1830s until the 1930s. The theoretical part of the book concludes with nineteenth century international political theory and intervention (Kant, Hegel, Cobden, Mazzini and especially J.S. Mill). In the practical second part of the book four cases studies of humanitarian intervention are examined in considerable detail: the Greek case (1821-1831), the Lebanon/Syria case (1860-61), the Balkan crisis and Bulgarian case (1875-78) in two chapters, and the U.S. intervention in Cuba (1895-98). Each cases study concludes with its bearing on the evolution of international norms and rules of conduct in instances of humanitarian plights. The concluding chapter identifies the main characteristics of intervention on humanitarian grounds during this period and today’s criticism and counter-criticism.