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The Responsibility to ProtectA Defense$
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Alex J. Bellamy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704119.001.0001

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Balancing Humanitarian Priorities

Balancing Humanitarian Priorities

(p.150) 8 Balancing Humanitarian Priorities
The Responsibility to Protect

Alex J. Bellamy

Oxford University Press

Noting that humanitarian organizations are often on the ground when mass atrocities strike, this chapter examines the dilemmas they confront in trying to balance humanitarian principles with R2P considerations. It shows that while humanitarian organizations often do provide some protection, there are real concerns about the relationship of their work with R2P. In particular, the association of humanitarian action with controversial political action has the potential to weaken humanitarian space, making it more difficult to secure access and potentially placing humanitarians—and those they assist—in harm’s way. The chapter offers some ways of overcoming or rethinking these problems so that their contribution can be harnessed without forcing humanitarian agencies to imperil their core principles. These include the adoption of an “atrocity prevention lens” to identify ways in which humanitarian action might better protect populations from atrocities whilst remaining sensitive to the potential problems.

Keywords:   humanitarian action, humanitarianism, humanitarian principles, relief efforts, protection, civil war, genocide, mass atrocities

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