Humanitarian Intervention – Case Study Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "Humanitarian Intervention" is a perfect example of a Social Science Case Study. Although the end of the cold war in the 1990s cooled down the danger of World War, it failed to address the need to end armed conflicts together with existing humanitarian catastrophes worldwide. Humanitarian intervention in cases of war and conflicts are mainly initiated by international organizations and agencies like the United Nations and nongovernment organizations. Generally, in a situation of war and disaster, this kind of intervention in various capacity have saved hundreds of lives through the provision of food, medical supplies and even intervening in the war in extreme cases.

Most international communities appreciate the value of this kind of effort by humanitarian organizations but in recent times critics have asserted on the potential of these humanitarian activists to exacerbate conflicts instead of promoting peace in the course of their intervention. Most of these critics have assessed the extent of negative externalities caused by these interventions. Following the end of the cold war was the series of civil war in Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, which broke out in 1991.

In 1994 Rwanda crisis started followed by the ongoing civil war in Syria and Central Africa Republic and all these wars have increased the number of civilian casualties while still heightened the rise in demand for the need of humanitarian intervention. Faced with this increase in a catastrophic problem, the international community is confronted on the best way to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the best approach. Particularly the underlying purpose for the establishment of humanitarian intervention is to bring an end to human suffering resulting from crises and uphold human rights by protecting, restoring peace and enhancing security (Benjamin, 1992).

Considering past initiated humanitarian interventions, some have being successful while many examples have failed in meeting this goal. The legitimacy to initiating humanitarian intervention and achieving overall humanitarian goal is not well established. Specifically, international communities are required to develop the best approach to use in its effort when initiating effective humanitarian intervention based on international laws. The purpose of this essay is to explore the role of humanitarian intervention with a focus to determine the reason why most intervention does not bare result in ending conflicts.

Particularly this paper achieves this by analyzing different case studies where international community humanitarian intervention did not result in establishing expected conflict resolution while still looking at other cases where humanitarian intervention offered solution by ending the conflict. Looking at case study of Libya NATO humanitarian intervention of 2011 with an intention of examining the reasons and conditions under which international humanitarian communities played role in resolving this conflict is significant. In analyzing the case study of Libya experience with NATO humanitarian intervention, first, there is the importance of asserting that although activities by humanitarian agencies do not generate conflicts, most of them attribute to and reinforce violently (Kaldor, 2001).

In addressing the incapacity of humanitarian intervention to resolve conflict and their possible negative impacts, it is significant to look at these two issues; first is the transfer of resources and second involves ethical messages conveyed through the provision of assistance. Humanitarian body's objectives in peace restoration and protecting humanitarian may be crippled when they incline with one side of the warring force.

The results of this inclination with one side result in allowing it to gain control of the supplies provided targeting humanitarian assistance missions either through stealing or by imposing levies.


Benjamin, B.M., 1992. Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention: Legalizing the Use of Force to Prevent Human Rights Atrocities. Fordham Int'l LJ, 16, p.120.

Gardiner, N., 2007. The Decline and Fall of the United Nations: Why the UN Has Failed and How It Can Be Reformed. Heritage Foundation.

Hofmann, C. and Schneckener, U., 2011. Engaging non-state armed actors in state-and peace-building: options and strategies. International Review of the Red Cross, 93(883), pp.603-621.

Holbrook, J., 2002. Humanitarian Intervention and the Recasting of International law. In Rethinking human rights (pp. 136-154). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Holzgrefe, J.L. and Keohane, R.O., 2003. Humanitarian intervention: ethical, legal and political dilemmas. Cambridge University Press.


Kuperman, A., 2013. Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Policy Brief, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, available from http://belfercenter. ksg. harvard. edu/files/Kuperman% 20policy% 20brief% 20published% 20version, 202.

Kuperman, A.J., 2008. The moral hazard of humanitarian intervention: Lessons from the Balkans. International Studies Quarterly, 52(1), pp.49-80.

Pirseyedi, B., 2000. The Small Arms Problem in Central Asia: Features and Implications. United Nations Publications UNIDIR.

Smock, D.R., 1996. Humanitarian assistance and conflict in Africa (Vol. 31, No. 6). US Institute of Peace.

Tocci, N., 2007. The EU and conflict resolution: promoting peace in the backyard.

Tschirgi, N., 2004. Post-conflict peacebuilding revisited: achievements, limitations, challenges (p. ii). New York: International Peace Academy.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us