Mélange du Mercredi/Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster

Welcome to Mélange du Mercredi, our weekly book review courtesy of our friends over at the International Review of the Red Cross. Each week, we highlight one of the latest and greatest in reading, film and other scholarly resources, focusing on a variety of issues pertaining to international humanitarian law. And while we'll start off highlighting resources mentioned in the Review, if you have other suggestions , or would like to submit a post on something you feel our readers will also enjoy, we're happy to include those as well. Just email Editor Niki Clark


Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster by Hugo Slim

Review written by Fiona Terry, an independent researcher who holds a doctorate in international relations from the Australian National University, and is the author of Condemned to Repeat? The Paradox of Humanitarian Action.

As the humanitarian enterprise faces some of its toughest challenges in trying to help people suffering from an unprecedented number of simultaneous conflicts and disasters around the world, Hugo Slim’s new book Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster takes us on a fascinating journey into the heart of what it is we are trying to do, why we are doing it, and how. His deeply insightful examination of humanitarian ethics unpacks the values behind the humanitarian endeavor, the moral tensions that arise in carrying it out, and the ways in which humanitarian individuals and organizations can think through these issues and strive to act in the most responsible way they can.

At a time when many humanitarian veterans struggle to see their passion and commitment to humanitarian ideals reflected in a newer generation of often career-minded, corporate-thinking aid executives, Slim offers a vital reminder of the sentiments that gave birth to humanitarianism, how these have been formalized and put into practice over the past few decades, and how tendencies to expand conceptions of humanitarian action into peace building and the defense of human rights can compromise efforts to uphold the essential goal of saving lives and preserving dignity.

To download the full review, click here. To read the review online, click here