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Humanities 2014, 3(2), 232-243;

The (de)Militarization of Humanitarian Aid: A Historical Perspective

Political Science, Institut français de géopolitique, Université Paris 8, 2 rue de la Liberté, 93526 Saint-Denis, France
Received: 11 March 2014 / Revised: 2 June 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
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Humanitarian workers often complain that international aid to victims of armed conflicts is more and more militarized because relief organizations are embedded into peacekeeping operations, used as a “force multiplier”, or manipulated as an instrument of diplomacy by proxy. Historically, however, charity has always been a military issue in times of war. We can distinguish four types of militarization of relief organizations in this regard. First is the use of charities to make “war by proxy”, as in Afghanistan or Nicaragua in the 1980s. The second pattern is “embedment”, like the Red Cross during the two world wars. The third is “self-defense”, as with the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (now Malta) in the 12th Century. The fourth, finally, is the model of “International Brigades” alongside the Spanish Republicans in 1936 or various liberation movements in the 1970s. In comparison, humanitarian aid today appears to be much less militarized. However, this perception also depends on the various definitions of the word “humanitarian”. View Full-Text
Keywords: humanitarian aid; militarization; responsibility to protect humanitarian aid; militarization; responsibility to protect
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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De Montclos, M.-A.P. The (de)Militarization of Humanitarian Aid: A Historical Perspective. Humanities 2014, 3, 232-243.

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