Humanity is at once the most universally and uncritically accepted humanitarian principle. It is not, however, without controversy.
This article, from the ICRC's academic journal, the International Review of the Red Cross, defines the principle of humanity and then explores its inherent tensions, related to universality and particularism, inclusion and exclusion, and equality and inequality.
The article concludes with a call to operationalize and concretize humanity through three sets of transformative practices and everyday actions. Together, these embody the relational nature of humanity, and suggest ways forward in reforming humanitarianism.
About the author: Larissa Fast is a Science and Technology Policy Fellow (2014–2016) with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is also author of Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). Go here for more information about her work. Follow Larissa on Twitter: @aidindanger.