humanitarian intervention

GC: n

S: GPF – (last access: 5 February 2019); ICRC – (last access: 4 September 2014); POTI – (last access: 6 February 2019).

N: – 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.”
– intervention (n): Early 15c., “intercession, intercessory prayer,” from Middle French intervention or directly from Late Latin interventionem (nominative interventio) “an interposing, a giving security,” literally “a coming between,” noun of action from past participle stem of Latin intervenire “to come between, interrupt,” from inter “between” (see inter-) + venire “to come,” from a suffixed form of PIE root *gwa- “to go, come.” Later “act of intervening” in any way; in 19c.-20c. often of international relations; by 1983 of interpersonal intrusions by friends or family meant to reform a life felt to be going wrong.
2. Humanitarian intervention is the act of protecting people from degradation, deprivation and destruction physically, materially, socially and legally. The intervention is motivated by both altruistic humanitarian intentions and a philosophical paradigm that view individuals, communities and nation states as responsible to greater global ideals and humanity. Although the motivation to intervene and protect the rights of others is conceived or perceived as just, often the intention is obscured, at least in part for the benefit of the intervening party.
3. While there is no agreed upon international definition of “humanitarian intervention” yet, it is a doctrine generally understood to mean coercive action by States involving the use of armed force in another State without the consent of its government, with or without authorization from the UN Security Council, for the purpose of preventing or putting to a halt gross and massive violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The UN’s operations in Northern Iraq and Somalia, and NATO’s operation in Kosovo have all been termed humanitarian intervention. (OCHA)

S: 1. OED – (last access: 5 February 2019). 2. StudyMode – (last access: 4 September 2014). 3. RWP – (last access: 4 September 2014) (p. 32).


CR: collateral damage, conflicts, humanitarian coordinator, humanitarian interference.