Despite the proliferation of international humanitarian and human rights laws since the end of the Cold War, there has been an erosion of the practical immunity of civilians caught in the midst of armed conflicts. It is under these conditions that the plight of non-combatants has generated ever growing attention from the media, humanitarian organizations and scholars. Here, Sreeram Chaulia explores the attempts of international organizations to mitigate violence against civilians, offering a unique insight into the motivations and effects of these organizations at the grass-roots level in conflict zones. Utilising frameworks and theories from the study of International Relations and Political Science, 'International Organizations and Civilian Protection' offers a lively and nuanced debate concerning the behavior of international humanitarian organizations in protracted conflicts. Considering the activities of both inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, the question at the heart of this examination is whether these bodies respond to cultural 'Ideas' prevalent within the humanitarian regime, or whether they respond to the more material realities of 'Power' and 'Might'. Drawing upon his field research and practical civilian peacekeeping experiences in both Sri Lanka and Philippines, Chaulia explores how these two concepts of 'Power' and 'Ideas' combine within larger structural conditions to cause and influence humanitarian behavior towards civilians. Combining a theoretical analysis with an empirical approach, the author comes to the conclusion that if international organizations are to be successful in protecting civilians, then they must avoid solely relying upon structures which may often facilitate the interests of donors, host states or rebels. For civilians to be truly protected, Chaulia proposes that international organizations should instead attempt to collaborate with segments of local civil society in the midst of the conflict in question. By using a theoretical framework to examine the realities of humanitarian assistance and the plight of civilians trapped in conflict zones, this analysis offers invaluable conclusions for those involved in the study of Politics and International Relations, as well as those concerned with the practicalities of conflict resolution and peacekeeping.
International Organizations and Civilian Protection
Power, Ideas and Humanitarian Aid in Conflict Zones