Humanitarian Intervention One of the Most Purposeful Term Paper

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Humanitarian Intervention

One of the most purposeful and successful undertakings that has benefited third world nations is humanitarian intervention. It is an act arising out of the human collective spirit as people come together through organized efforts and organizations to bring to relief and aid to those areas of the world where humanity suffers. The suffering might be as a result of mankind's own making, like war; or because of natural disasters like draughts, tsunamis, or destruction by forces of nature in weather. Humanitarian intervention is a no judgment zone. In other words, where there is human suffering others will respond to that suffering with aid, and will not use that suffering as a political platform from which to gain power over others, or to point fingers in judgment. The first and immediate order of business is to deliver relief to persons in need. Unfortunately, political, military, and self-interest often interferes with the efforts of humanitarian relief workers because the relief draws attention to crimes against humanity, corruption, and greed and the players behind those forces of destruction. The attempts to delay or prevent humanitarian aid to people in need are often successful because the international community lacks the doctrine, rules, or laws that would put human life above and beyond the reach of corruption, greed, and war; or one that would define when it is appropriate, approved by the international community, to deliver humanitarian aid under the protection of and by force if necessary.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Term Paper on Humanitarian Intervention One of the Most Purposeful Assignment

The first problem that arises in preventing the making of international laws, policies, or rules that describe how or when force should, and could be used to deliver humanitarian aid is that the need to use force obscures the objective of delivering humanitarian aid. In early 1979, Tanzania intervened in the governing of Uganda by entering that country and deposing its dictator ruler, Idi Amin (Wheeler, Nicholas J., 2002, p. 111). In deposing Amin, Tanzania mobilized and utilized its military forces against Uganda (Wheeler, p. 111). Tanzania responded to a dictatorial rule in its neighboring country where the ruler, Idi Amin, had waged an eight-year campaign of terror against his own citizens (Wheeler, p. 111). Amin's campaign utilized the country's military forces against its own citizens, committing acts of murder, torture and causing Ugandans to live in constant fear of their lives (Wheeler, p. 111). Not only had Uganda become an embarrassment to the African nations, but, by 1979, Uganda posed a threat to its neighboring Tanzania (Wheeler, p. 111).

The threat posed to Tanzania by Uganda, in combination with the extreme and obvious human suffering, Tanzania claimed, served as justification for entering a sovereign nation under the protection of military force and deposing that nation's government (Wheeler, p. 111). Tanzania was successful in its goals of resolving human suffering, and in deposing a regime that had become a source of terror and abuse to its citizens. Whether or not it was right for Tanzania to enter Uganda, or even legal from an international perspective, was a question that Tanzania answered this way: In 1978, Uganda had invaded Tanzania, a declaration of war in international terms (Wheeler, p. 111). This, according to Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania, gave his government the right to respond to Uganda's aggression and to depose Idi Amin using Tanzania's military force (Wheeler, p. 111).

While there was perhaps room to challenge Nyerere's action under Article III of the OUA, there was no one who felt strongly enough about Idi Amin's government to argue the point. Humanitarian intervention followed Nyerere's forces, and provided humanitarian aid on a large scale to a Uganda population that was in dire need of food, medical aid, clothing and shelter (Wheeler, p. 111). However, Tanzania's action continues to be debated, even criticized for its use of force in Uganda and is cited as a bad precedent in responding to human need (Wheeler, p. 111).

In 1989, in Mozambique, human suffering and need was at the forefront of world attention as the members of the United Nations Security Council debated on how to address that human suffering (Barnes, Sam, 1998, p. 16). The UN worked towards a negotiated end to the war in Mozambique, because.".. It was increasingly clear that the war had become widespread with its victims increasingly the civil society in rural communities (Barnes, p. 16)." By 1992, discussions were still going on about how to bring about an end to the war in Mozambique, and human suffering had become even more widespread and with little humanitarian relief allowed into the country to address the survival needs of the civilian population (Barnes, p. 16).

Then, in February 1992, the United Nations created the DHA, Department of Humanitarian Affairs, under Resolution 46/182. The resolution allowed for relief coordination with any government and gave the UN authority to manage that effort, create offices within the conflict zones to manage those efforts if necessary, and, in 1992, the government of Mozambique agreed to work with coordinators of the DHA in support of relief efforts for Mozambique's citizens who not only then suffered from the effects of war, but who now also confronted with the conditions of draught (Wheeler, p. 17). "The possibility of maintaining peace in Mozambique was seen to be closely linked to the effectiveness of the humanitarian programme (Wheeler, p. 18)."

While the DHA and its mission experienced success in Mozambique, it was recognized by world leaders in the UN that it was necessary to create a platform of security and immunity and neutrality around the DHA so that humanitarian efforts could prevail in a peaceful way (Wheeler, p. 18). The idea was sound in its objective for delivering humanitarian relief and aid, but the reality of conflict, politics and vying for power in third world nations would prove to be a greater challenge than the organization could possibly deal with.

The DHA and the United Nations peacekeeping forces that accompanied it in 1994, in Rwanda, proved ineffective and unable to pursue its mission of humanitarian aid when civil war broke in that country, which ended in genocide of minorities in that country (Welsh, Jennifer, 2004, p. 5). Even though the guidelines existed for operation of the DHA and the peacekeeping forces, those forces were prohibited from acting to protect themselves or the civilian population they were attempting to deliver aid to. "In April, 1994, with regard to Rwanda, the Security Council demonstrated that it is perfectly willing, under USA (Belgium) pressure, to abandon a population to a long-expected genocide in progress even when starting with a small but expandable UN peacekeeping force already in place (with a willing and capable commander) (Welsh, 2004, p. 19)."


Having failed time and again in its mission to deliver humanitarian aid to civilian populations in need, the United Nations' DHA and Security Council must surrender their authority to the creation of an international body and organization that will tasked with powers of intervention for the purposes of delivering humanitarian aid in conflict zones. This to-be-created body will consist of international military and civilian components whose first mission it is to provide aid to civilians, and to afford those civilians an expandable zone of safety free from harm within conflict areas until the mechanisms of detente can bring about resolutions to conflict areas. This acknowledges the human needs of civilians who are have no ability to care for or defend themselves and who cannot otherwise remove themselves from harm's way until issues that give rise to internal conflicts are resolved.

The to-be-created body responsible for this will receive the full support and have authorization to defend its mission against internal or external warring forces. The body will operate under a distinct and identifiable set of conditions, and will be responsible for collecting and maintaining and presenting evidence in defense of its own use of force to defend its mission.

Once the international community identifies the need for such a body to go into a conflict zone, the area of land occupied by that body and by the people whom would seek the humanitarian aid of that body, or the people whom the body would deem as in need of receiving humanitarian would constitute a no conflict zone. Violation of the no conflict zone parameters will be deemed an act of aggression against the international community as a whole, and will be met with an expanded international response on behalf of the non-violent and otherwise unarmed civilian population to whom the organization is administering humanitarian aid.

Only with the creation of such a body, empowered with such abilities, can humanitarian aid and peace prevail.

Works Cited

Barnes, Sam. Humanitarian Aid Coordination during War and Peace in Mozambique, 1985-1995. Uppsala: Nordic African Institute, 1998. Questia. 6 Nov. 2007


Welsh, Jennifer M., ed. Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2004. Questia. 6 Nov. 2007


Wheeler, Nicholas J. Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Questia. 6… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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