The International Legal Protection of Persons in Humanitarian Crises
The extent of human suffering arising from armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters is unfortunately well known. Yet pitted against such forces of destruction are individuals, local communities and international organisations responding to the humanitarian imperative to alleviate suffering wherever it may be found. The twin components of humanitarian action, encompassing material assistance and the protection of persons, therefore provide a counter-balance to the serious harms that humans and nature can create. Recent years have seen an exponential growth in such humanitarian activities and in related legal and policy instruments. Consequently, one can identify an interconnected web of laws, policies and practices, rooted in the principles of humanity and human dignity, which address the preparation for and provision of material support and legal protection for people caught up in humanitarian crises. Drawing from existing bodies of international law, such as the law of armed conflict, human rights law, and international disaster law, it is possible to discern an acquis humanitaire (or 'law of humanitarian assistance'). This book explores both the conceptual framework and normative content of such an acquis humanitaire, and argues that the law continues to play an important role in the protection of persons in humanitarian crises.
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