The Protection-Neutrality Dilemma in Humanitarian Emergencies: Why the Need for Military Intervention?


Weil, Carola. 2001. “The Protection-Neutrality Dilemma in Humanitarian Emergencies: Why the Need for Military Intervention?" International Migration Review 35 (1): 79-116. 

Author: Carola Weil


For humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the recent evolution of military engagement in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies has been a mixed blessing. This article examines the protection-neutrality dilemma confronting UNCHR in the face of increased military humanitarian action. The conceptual framework presented here suggests that military forces may in fact act as an important "norms entrepreneur," influencing how protection norms affect international responses to humanitarian emergencies. The linking of forced migration and security has generated a host of challenges for civil-military relations and raises a number of concerns for UNHCR regarding the legitimacy, ethics and operational viability of military interventions in such crises.

Keywords: UNHCR, humanitarian emergency, forced migration, security, military intervention

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security

Year: 2001

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