This book provides a critical introduction to the notion of humanitarianism in global politics, tracing the concept from its origins to the twenty-first century.
It describes how the so called international community works in response to humanitarian crises and the systems that bind and divide them. By tracing the history on international humanitarian action from its early roots through the birth of the Red Cross to the beginning of the UN, Peter Walker examines the challenges humanitarian agencies face, from working alongside armies and terrorists to witnessing genocide. Particular emphasis is placed on the developments of the past fifteen years, the rise in humanitarian action as a political tool, the growing call for accountability of agencies, the switch of NGOs from bit players to major trans-national actors and the conflict between political action and humanitarian action when it comes to addressing causes as well as symptoms of crisis. Humanitarianism has a vital future, but only if those practicing it choose to make it so.
Shaping the Humanitarian World will be of interest to students and scholars of human rights law, international law and politics and international relations in general.