Humanitarians and ‘Humanitarian Intervention’


Humanitarianism as a concept is arguably as old as humanity itself. To help one's fellow man in their time of need irrespective of race, religion, caste, or creed has been preached by innumerable ideologies. Despite being such a universally understood concept, in recent decades humanitarianism, has faced increased conflation with ‘humanitarian intervention’. This paper seeks to discern the differences between humanitarianism and humanitarian intervention and will do so by examining the ideological and foundational differences between the two concepts. The two concepts despite sounding similar are fundamentally different; they involve different actors and have different objectives. This paper will distinguish between state and non- state actors and the different humanitarian roles, values, and interests they have. This paper will posit that states that engage in military interventions are not humanitarians and that the conflation of such actions with those of impartial non-state actors are highly damaging to the ideals and values of humanitarianism.
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