The Politics of Principle: The Principles of Humanitarian Action in Practice

Research reports and studies
March 2000
Nicholas Leader

This report is the synthesis report of an independent study by ODI into humanitarian principles. In recent years there has been an outpouring of reflection on principles by humanitarian agencies, and attempts in several countries by groups of agencies to develop a more explicitly ‘principled’ approach to working in conflict. In light of these developments, the purpose of the study was to investigate three broad questions

• What do humanitarian principles mean to agencies?

 • What difference does the adoption of an explicitly principles approach make to an agency decision-making and behaviour?

 • What impact does this approach have on the behaviour of the warring parties?

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