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We Are Failing the Victims of War

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Chapter Summary

The dimensions of the humanitarian disaster: of starvation, appalling child mortality rates, of death from preventable diseases, challenge us every evening in the TV advertisements of the aid agencies. The single most obvious defining characteristic of these conflicts is their impact on civilians. Typically, civilians are the target. The fact that war happens is a testimony to failure that civilians are so exposed and violated is a failure. Responsibility for that failure lies at many doors, including those of local, national and regional elites. It is also our responsibility we the international community. In the first place, the international community has been notoriously unreliable and ineffective in providing early warning of conflict and crisis. Even when the crisis is acknowledged, there is a shameful record of inconsistent responses. The UN Security Council, for some years now, has purported to sometimes deploy military/civilian peacekeeping operations on the basis of humanitarian intervention.

Keywords: civilians; humanitarian disaster; humanitarian intervention; international community; UN Security Council



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