IRRC No. 314

The International Committee of the Red Cross and humanitarian assistance: A policy analysis

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In today's armed conflicts and complex emergencies more civilians suffer than combatants. After the Cold War one could identify a zone of turmoil in which civilian suffering was acute. But one could also identify a zone of stability from which operated a complicated system of humanitarian assistance designed to respond to civilian suffering. Media coverage emphasized the suffering, but never before in world history had such a kaleidoscope of humanitarian actors tried to provide emergency relief during armed conflicts and complex emergencies. Inevitably calls were heard for better organization and coordination, and in 1991–92 the United Nations created a Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA).

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