humanitarian action

GC: n

S: HHI – (last access: 31 October 2018); UNICEF – (last access: 4 September 2014); POTI – (last access: 6 February 2019).

N: 1. – humanitarian (adj): 1794 in the theological sense “one who affirms the humanity of Christ but denies his pre-existence and divinity,” from human (adj.) + suffix from unitarian, etc. By 1834 as “one who professes the creed that a person’s highest duty is to advance the welfare of the human race,” but the closely allied sense “philanthropist, one who advocates or practices human action to solve social problems” (1842), originally was disparaging, with a suggestion of excess. Compare humanism.
As an adjective by 1834 in the theological sense “affirming the humanity or human nature of Christ;” by 1855 as “having regard for the broad interests of humanity.”
– action (n): mid-14c., “cause or grounds for a lawsuit,” from Anglo-French accioun, Old French accion, action (12c.) “action; lawsuit, case,” from Latin actionem (nominative actio) “a putting in motion; a performing, a doing; public acts, official conduct; lawsuit, legal action” (source also of Spanish acción, Italian azione), noun of action from past-participle stem of agere “to do” (from PIE root *ag- “to drive, draw out or forth, move”).
Meaning “active exertion, activity” is from late 14c. Sense of “something done, an act, deed” is late 14c. Meaning “military fighting” is from 1590s. Meaning “way in which (a firearm, etc.) acts” is from 1845. As a film director’s command, it is attested from 1923. Meaning “noteworthy or important activity” is from 1933, as in the figurative phrase a piece of the action (1966). Meaning “excitement” is recorded from 1968. In action “in a condition of effective operation” is from 1650s. Phrase actions speak louder than words is attested from 1731. Action-packed is attested from 1953, originally of movies.
2. Assistance, protection and advocacy actions undertaken on an impartial basis in response to human needs resulting from complex political emergencies and natural hazards. (ALNAP)
3. The Humanitarian Policy and Practice (HPP) Team provides leadership and staff support to InterAction members that are active in humanitarian response and advocacy. Humanitarian action provides life-saving services and facilitates the return to normalcy for people and communities affected by natural and man-made disasters. It also seeks to lessen the destructive impact of disasters and complex emergencies. Humanitarian response is guided by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, which provide a common framework for organizations involved in humanitarian action.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 31 October 2018). 2. RWP – (p. 31). 3. InterAction – (last access: 25 July 2015).


CR: deontology, globalization, humanitarian aid, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian convoy, humanitarian ethics.