The Ethical Dilemmas of International Human Rights and Humanitarian NGOs

Daniel A. Bell & Joseph H. Carens, “The Ethical Dilemmas of International Human Rights and Humanitarian NGOs: Reflections on A Dialogue Between Practitioners and Theorists,” 26 HUM. RTS. Q. 300 (2004)

The paper focuses on the different ethical problems that humanitarian organizations face such as conflicts between human rights principles and local cultural norms and how these problems limit their work. Its main aim is analyzing the approaches that different humanitarian organizations use to deal with ethical issues and the advantages and disadvantages of each of these approaches. This, it suggests, is beneficial for practitioners working in this kind of organizations. It also argues that since the goal of political theory is to guide action then it must understand the choices that those involved in human rights work confront daily in their work. By looking at the four ethical dilemmas in depth the paper ends by saying that most responses to ethical dilemmas will depend on the context at hand. 

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