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Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...

human
s practice benevolent treatment and provide assistance to other humans to reduce suffering and improve the conditions of humanity for
moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in rel ...

moral
,
altruistic Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...

altruistic
, and
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
al reasons. One aspect involves voluntary emergency aid overlapping with
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
advocacy, actions taken by governments,
development assistance Development aid is aid In international relations, aid (also known as international aid, overseas aid, foreign aid, economic aid or foreign assistance) is – from the perspective of governments – a voluntary transfer of resources from on ...
, and domestic
philanthropy Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the ...

philanthropy
. Other critical issues include correlation with religious beliefs, motivation of aid between altruism and
social control Social control is a concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and belief A belief is an Attitud ...
, market affinity,
imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power Hard power is the use of military and economics, economi ...

imperialism
and
neo-colonialism Neocolonialism is the practice of using economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumpt ...
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is a ...
and
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
relations, and humanitarian agencies. A practitioner is known as a humanitarian.


An informal ideology

Humanitarianism is an informal
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes abo ...
of practice; it is "the doctrine that people's duty is to promote human welfare." Humanitarianism is based on a view that all human beings deserve respect and dignity and should be treated as such. Therefore, humanitarians work towards advancing the well-being of humanity as a whole. It is the antithesis of the "us vs. them" mentality that characterizes
tribalism Tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles. Human evolution has primarily occurred in small groups, as opposed to people's cooperation in society as a whole. With a negative connotation and in a ...
and
ethnic nationalism Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the ...
. Humanitarians abhor
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
, violation of basic and
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
, and
discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People may be discriminated on the basis of , , , , or , as well as ...
on the basis of features such as skin colour, religion, ancestry, or place of birth. Humanitarianism drives people to save lives, alleviate suffering, and promote human dignity in the middle of man-made or natural disasters. Humanitarianism is embraced by movements and people across the political spectrum. The informal ideology can be summed up by a quote from
Albert Schweitzer Ludwig Philipp Albert Schweitzer (; 14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was an Alsace, Alsatian polymath. He was a theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular ...

Albert Schweitzer
: "Humanitarianism consists in never sacrificing a human being to a purpose."


A universal doctrine

Jean Pictet Jean Simon Pictet (2 September 1914 – 30 March 2002) was a Swiss citizen, jurist, legal practitioner working in international humanitarian law International humanitarian law (IHL), also referred to as the laws of armed conflict, is the law that ...
, in his commentary on The Fundamental Principles of the
Red Cross The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international movement with approximately 97 million , members and staff worldwide, which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to ...
, argues for the universal characteristics of humanitarianism: :The wellspring of the principle of humanity is in the essence of social morality which can be summed up in a single sentence, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. This fundamental precept can be found, in almost identical form, in all the great religions,
Brahminism The historical Vedic religion (also known as Vedicism, Vedism or (anachronistically) ancient Hinduism), and subsequent Brahmanism (also called Brahminism), constituted the religious ideas and practices among some of the Indo-Aryan peoples ...
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...

Christianity
,
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC ...
,
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
,
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
and
Taoism Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of China, Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, Taoism#Spelling and pronunciation, or ''Dao''). In Taoism, the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern a ...
. It is also the
golden rule The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in most religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, ...

golden rule
of the positivists, who do not commit themselves to any religion but only to the data of experience, in the name of reason alone. It is indeed not at all necessary to resort to affective or transcendental concepts to recognize the advantage for men to work together to improve their lot.


Historical examples and periodization

Humanitarianism was publicly seen in the social reforms of the late 1800s and early 1900s, following the economic turmoil of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
in England. Many of the women in
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
who were involved with
feminism Feminism is a range of s and that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social . Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within ...

feminism
during the 1900s also pushed humanitarianism. The atrocious hours and working conditions of children and unskilled laborers were made illegal by pressure on Parliament by humanitarians. The Factory Act of 1833 and the Factory Act of 1844 were some of the most significant humanitarian bills passed in
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
following the Industrial Revolution. In the middle of the 19th century, humanitarianism was central to the work of
Florence Nightingale Florence Nightingale, (; 12 May 182013 August 1910) was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean ...

Florence Nightingale
and
Henry Dunant Henry Dunant (born Jean-Henri Dunant; 8 May 182830 October 1910), also known as Henri Dunant, was a Swiss humanitarian, businessman and social activist. He was the visionary, promoter and co-founder and father of the Red Cross The Internatio ...
in emergency response and in the latter case led to the founding of the
Red Cross The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international movement with approximately 97 million , members and staff worldwide, which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to ...

Red Cross
. The
Humanitarian League The Humanitarian League was a British radical advocacy group, formed by Henry S. Salt, based in London, which operated between 1891 and 1919. Background Howard Williams (humanitarian), Howard Williams, the author of ''The Ethics of Diet'' (18 ...
(1891–1919) was an English advocacy group, formed by
Henry S. Salt
Henry S. Salt
, which sought to advance the humanitarian cause. Various suggestions of distinct periods of humanitarianism exist, drawing either on geopolitical or socioeconomic factors that determine humanitarian action. The first approach is exemplified by Michael Barnett's proposition to distinguish ages of "imperial humanitarianism" (up to 1945), "neo-humanitarianism" (1945–1989), and "liberal humanitarianism". Norbert Götz, Georgina Brewis, and Steffen Werther are advocates of the socioeconomic and cultural approach, arguing that there have been ages of "ad hoc humanitarianism" (up to c. 1900), "organized humanitarianism" (c. 1900–1970), and "expressive humanitarianism" (since 1970). They suggest we might currently be entering "a novel kind of defensive humanitarianism with roots in the expressive age, with automated interfaces, and with thick 'firewalls' between donors and recipients."


Emergency response

Today, humanitarianism is particularly used to describe the thinking and doctrines behind the emergency response to humanitarian crises. In such cases it argues for a
humanitarian response Humanitarian aid is material and Humanitarian Logistics, logistic assistance to people who need help. It is usually short-term help until the long-term help by the government and other institutions replaces it. Among the people in need are the ...
based on
humanitarian principles There are a number of meanings for the term humanitarian. Here humanitarian pertains to the practice of saving lives and alleviating suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated ...
, particularly the principle of humanity. Nicholas de Torrente, former Executive Director of
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; pronounced ), sometimes rendered in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most pop ...
USA writes:
The most important principles of humanitarian action are humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality, which posits the conviction that all people have equal dignity by virtue of their being human based solely on need, without discrimination among recipients. Humanitarian organizations must refrain from taking part in hostilities or taking actions that advantage one side of the conflict over another, the §action serves the interests of political, religious, or other agendas.

These fundamental principles serve two essential purposes. They embody humanitarian action’s single-minded purpose of alleviating suffering, unconditionally and without any ulterior motive. They also serve as background document to develop operational tools that help in obtaining both the consent of communities for the presence and activities of humanitarian organizations, particularly in highly volatile contexts.
Covid 19, the pandemic, is being faced by the same humanity.


Digital humanitarianism

Patrick Meier first started using the term 'digital humanitarianism' after crowdmapping for the
2010 Haiti earthquake The 2010 Haiti earthquake (french: Séisme de 2010 à Haïti; ht, Tranblemanntè 12 janvye 2010 nan peyi Ayiti) was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter The epicenter, epicentre () or epicentrum in seismol ...
. In 2011, Paul Conneally gave a
TED talk TED Conferences LLC (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an American media organization that posts talks online for free distribution under the slogan "ideas worth spreading". TED was conceived by Richard Saul Wurman, who co-founded it with ...
on digital humanitarianism in which he states that humanitarianism's "origins are firmly routed in the analogue age" with "a major shift coming". In 2015 he authored the book ''Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data Is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response''. Vincent Fevrier notes that "
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
can benefit the humanitarian sector ... by providing information to give better
situational awareness Situational awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status. Situation awareness has been re ...
to organisations for broad strategic planning and logistics" and that "
crisis mapping File:Spatial distribution of the number of buildings and highways added to OpenStreetMap between 2008-01-01 and 2020-05-20 in regard to overall and humanitarian mapping activities - 41598 2021 82404 Fig2 (cropped).png, Spatial distribution of the n ...
really emerged in 2010 during the Haiti earthquake" with "software and digital humanitarian platforms such as Standby Task Force,
OpenStreetMap OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free Free may refer to: Concept * Freedom, having the ability to act or change without constraint * Emancipate, to procure political rights, as for a disenfranchised group * Free wi ...

OpenStreetMap
, and many others" being active during many disasters since then. In fact, the role of social media in digital humanitarian efforts is a considerable one. Ten days after the 2010 earthquake, the "
Hope for Haiti Now ''Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief'' was a charity telethon held on January 22, 2010 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (January 23, 2010 from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. UTC). The telethon was the most widely distrib ...
" telethon event was launched in the United States, effectively taking over the mediasphere and reaching hundreds of millions of households and viewers. It focused on appealing to the viewing public's empathy for the survivors of the disaster, allowing ordinary citizens to help in a collective relief effort by contributing money donations to
NGOs A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of ...
providing Humanitarian aid to earthquake survivors. The telethon attracted support through a variety of celebrity musical performances and staged calls for empathy, using digital social networks to disseminate its appeal to the moral responsibility of the viewer-consumers who are able to reinforce identification with a national identity of the American 'savior' through participation in this Humanitarian project. During the summer of 2010, when open fires raged across Russia, causing many to die from smog inhalation, the use of social media allowed digital humanitarians to map the areas in need of support. This is because Russians who were hoping to be evacuated were posting online about the conditions they were in which prompted thousands of Russian bloggers to coordinate relief efforts online. The digital humanitarian efforts in Russia were crucial to responding to the fires in 2010 considering the Russian government was vastly unprepared to deal with such a large-scale disaster. Within digital humanitarianism,
big data Big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data set A data set (or dataset) is a collection of data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of informati ...

big data
has featured strongly in efforts to improve digital humanitarian work and produces a limited understanding of how a crisis is unfolding. It has been argued that Big Data is constitutive of a social relation in which digital humanitarians claim both the formal humanitarian sector and victims of crises need the services and labor that can be provided by digital humanitarians. Earlier in 2005, a question was raised as to whether
Wikipedia Wikipedia ( or ) is a free content Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creati ...

Wikipedia
can be seen as digital humanitarianism.


See also

* Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies *
Human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
*
Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International (HAP International), established in 2003, was the humanitarian sector's first international self-regulatory body. A multi-agency initiative working to improve the accountability of humanitarian ...
*
Humanitarian aid Humanitarian aid is material and logistic assistance to people who need help. It is usually short-term help until the long-term help by the government and other institutions replaces it. Among the people in need are the homeless Home ...
* Humanitarian education *
Humanitarian principles There are a number of meanings for the term humanitarian. Here humanitarian pertains to the practice of saving lives and alleviating suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated ...
* Humanitarian-political *
Humanity (virtue)Humanity is a virtue linked with basic ethics of altruism derived from the human condition. It also symbolises human love and compassion towards each other. Humanity differs from mere justice in that there is a level of altruism towards individuals ...
*
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is a worldwide humanitarian aid Humanitarian aid is material and logistic assistance to people who need help. It is usually short-term help until the long-term he ...
*
International humanitarian law #REDIRECT International humanitarian law International humanitarian law (IHL), also referred to as the laws of armed conflict, is the law that regulates the conduct of war ('' jus in bello''). It is a branch of international law International l ...
*
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread specie ...
*
International Rescue Committee The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 as the International Relief Association, at the request of Albert Einstein, and changing its name in 19 ...
* Red Swastika Society, in China *
World Humanitarian Day World Humanitarian Day is an list of minor secular observances#August, international day dedicated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian aid, humanitarian causes. It was designated by the ...
*
ReliefWeb ReliefWeb is the largest humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposab ...
Humanitarian News service * List of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies *


References


External links

*Cotter, Cédric
Red Cross
in
1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War
* *Herrmann, Irène, Palmieri, Daniel
International Committee of the Red Cross
in
1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War
*Gatrell, Peter, Gill, Rebecca, Little, Branden, Piller, Elisabeth
Discussion: Humanitarianism
in
1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War


Further reading

* Barnett, Michael. 2013. "Humanitarian Governance." Annual Review of Political Science. * Bass, Gary J,

, The New York Times Magazine, 2008. * Bonhoeffer, Dietrich ''Ethics'', Fontana, 1963. * de Torrent, Nicholas: "Humanitarian Action Under Attack: Reflections on the Iraq War" Harvard Human Rights Journal, Volume 17, Spring 200
Harvard University
Retrieved 13 July 2007 * Freud, Sigmund, ''Civilization and its Discontents'', Dover Publications, 1994. * * Glover, Jonathon, ''Humanity'', Pimlico, 2001 * * Moorehead, Caroline, ''Dunant's Dream, War, Switzerland and the History of the Red Cross'', Carroll & Graf, 1999 * * * Waters, Tony (2001). ''Bureaucratizing the Good Samaritan: The Limitations of Humanitarian Relief Operations''. Boulder: Westview Press. * Wilson, Richard Ashby and Richard D. Brown, eds., Humanitarianism and Suffering: The Mobilization of Empathy. Cambridge University Press, 2009. {{Authority control Humanitarian aid Applied ethics Ethical theories