Humanitarian NGOs

Authored by: Silke Roth

Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138285507
eBook ISBN: 9781315268927
Adobe ISBN:


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The meaning of ‘humanitarian’ action and organisations is ambiguous and ‘elastic’. A narrow understanding means providing relief in crisis situation such as natural disasters or violent conflicts, providing shelter, food, access to water and medical assistance. More broadly conceived, humanitarianism aims at transformation and addresses the root causes of poverty and conflict, providing education, building capacity and aiming at sustainable development. Humanitarianism is defined by neutrality and impartiality, assisting those in need regardless of their religion, nationality or any other characteristic (for an overview see Barnett and Weiss 2008; Barnett 2011).

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