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International Humanitarian Law, State sovereignty and the erosion of the humanitarian consensus: the end of humanitarianism?

This article examines the dilution of the legal framework on which humanitarian action has historically been based, primarily through the prism of international humanitarian law and related challenges posed to State sovereignty. The authors trace key changes over recent decades, including those regarding needs, the corresponding impact on policy enacted by aid organisations, effects on classic principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, and the undermining of long-standing rights. By doing so, they highlight the risks to a needs-based humanitarianism clearly in retreat.

Read the article by Duncan McLean and Michiel Hofman in Humanitarian Alternatives (Issue N°23)

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