Ethical Challenges Among Humanitarian Organisations: Insights from the Response to the Syrian Conflict

Chapter 8 from the book 'Humanitarian Action and Ethics'

Abstract

Decision-making for humanitarian health organisations in armed conflict, where combatants often violently interfere with humanitarian operations, is fraught with ethical challenges. Health workers often find themselves confronted with dilemmas where answers consistent with humanitarian values and standards do not exist, requiring what Hunt et al. (2012) describe as the need to choose a ‘least-worst option’. De Waal (2010) refers to these challenges as among humanitarianism’s ‘inescapable cruelties’, and argues that they are an unavoidable consequence of working at odds with the interests of powerful forces of war.

This book chapter is part of the ‘Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC)’ programme.

Citation

Kory L Funk, Diana Rayes, Leonard S Rubenstein, Nermin R Diab, Namrita S Singh, Matthew DeCamp, Wasim Maziak, Lara S Ho and W Courtland Robinson (2018) ‘Ethical Challenges Among Humanitarian Organisations: Insights from the Response to the Syrian Conflict’ - Chapter 8 in Ayesha Ahmad and James Smith (eds) (2019) Humanitarian Action and Ethics, London: Zed Books

Ethical Challenges Among Humanitarian Organisations: Insights from the Response to the Syrian Conflict

Published 1 June 2018