IRRC No. 897/898

Unpacking the principle of humanity: Tensions and implications

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Humanity is at once the most universally and uncritically accepted humanitarian principle. It is not, however, without controversy. This article defines the principle of humanity and then explores its inherent tensions, related to universality and particularism, inclusion and exclusion, and equality and inequality. The article concludes with a call to operationalize and concretize humanity through three sets of transformative practices and everyday actions. Together these embody the relational nature of humanity, and suggest ways forward in reforming humanitarianism.

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