Andrej Zwitter, Christopher K. Lamont, Hans Joachim Heintze, Joost Herman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


Humanitarian assistance occurs when local or regional crises prompt international action to alleviate human suffering. In contrast to development aid, humanitarian aid is defined by its short-term focus and the immediacy of intervention. Given its crisis management character, humanitarian assistance presents a pressing challenge for international law because the provision of assistance operates under circumstances which depart from common state-centric understandings of how international politics and international law usually work. To be sure, in the context of humanitarian emergencies processes of inter-state negotiation and consensus-building are dramatically limited by the urgency of the need to assist populations vulnerable to the consequences of natural disaster or armed conflict. Humanitarian Action: Global, Regional and Domestic Legal Responses directly responds to this pressing challenge by providing the first in-depth exploration of legal problems posed by contemporary humanitarian practice. Through two points of departure – one which explores the law and politics of humanitarian action, and the second which explores normative frameworks – this book provides legal professionals, scholars and policy-makers with a unique multidisciplinary resource that will help inform the theory and practice of humanitarian assistance. However, before embarking on a legal and political analysis of humanitarian assistance, this introductory chapter will set the stage for the following chapters. It will do this by presenting legal and political approaches through which humanitarian assistance can be approached to guide the reader through the complex issues raised by the contributors to this book.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHumanitarian Action
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal, Regional and Domestic Legal Responses
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781107282100
ISBN (Print)9781107053533
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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