Great project or great trap? : a critical appraisal of United Nations humanitarianism

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Caragounis, Vivian
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Humanity’s long history of striving for a safer, fairer and freer world culminated in the monopolisation of the use of force and the centralised guardianship of human rights by the United Nations (UN). Nevertheless, the examples of Rwanda and Kosovo highlight that UN humanitarian efforts can result in the very antithesis of UN aims. It is submitted that humanitarian intervention failures are not incidental but inherent to the humanitarian regime setup. Its modus operandi, combined with fault-lines running through its base, locks actors in positions through which the worst part of human nature can freely exercise itself and the best part is prevented from doing so, thus reinforcing age-old power games. It would appear that the main front of the fight for a safer, fairer and freer world is other than the apparent one. However, this front is often ignored, though it is here that victory must be secured if there is to be any victory for human rights and peace at all.
Second semester University: University of Nottingham.
humanitarian assistance, humanitarian intervention, Kosovo, Rwanda, United Nations