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The Humanitarians


  • Page extent: 376 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.55 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521612814 | ISBN-10: 0521612810)

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$57.99 (C)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) coordinates the world's largest private relief system for conflict situations. Yet despite its very important role, operations remain mysterious and secretive. This book examines the ICRC from mid-nineteenth century origins to the present. Taking international humanitarian law into consideration, David Forsythe focuses on the policy making and field work of the ICRC. He explores how it exercises its independence impartially to protect prisoners in Iraq, displaced and starving civilians in Somalia, and families separated by conflict in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Preface; Introduction; Part I. Historical Analysis: 1. The ICRC during its early years; 2. The ICRC during the Cold War; 3. The ICRC after the Cold War; 4. The ICRC and the US 'war' on terrorism; Part II. Policy Analysis: 5. ICRC principles and policies; 6. ICRC structure and management; 7. The ICRC and international humanitarian law; Part III. Conclusion: 8. The ICRC and Red Cross humanitarianism; Annex A. The ICRC and the Red Cross Movement; Annex B. The ICRC and Selected Private Relief Agencies; Annex C. The ICRC: One of the Big Four Relief Agencies; Annex D. The ICRC and Selected Advocacy Groups; Annex E. The ICRC Organizational Chart; Bibliography.


"Were this a commissioned study of its history, policy analysis and future goals, the International Committee of the Red Cross could not have expected a more solid, fair-minded or insightful result than has been delivered here independently by American academic and long-time ICRC watcher David Forsythe... Although not uncritical of the ICRC, Forsythe offers persuasive justification for its refusal to engage in shame and blame activities and its continuance, instead, of advocacy for incremental improvement."
The Australian

"David P. Forsythe, well respected for his works relating to Human Rights, also happens to know more about the ICRC than anyone outside, and almost everybody inside, that organization. He understands its foibles and recognizes its occasional failures. He also greatly admires it and has no doubt that the world would be a worse place without it."
Times Literary Supplement

“Forsythe's book is the most up-to-date and reliable account of the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is an important book for anyone seriously concerned with international humanitarianism. Highly recommended.”

"As Forsythe maintains, the ICRC has liberal goals and conservative means. It is fully embedded in Western democratic liberalism...but goes about promoting its liberal goals in a slow (sometimes frustratingly slow for many observers), methodical, non-confrontational way...Forsythe maintains that, with a few unfortunate has conducted itself with admirable independence."
Kurt Mills, Human Rights and Human Welfare

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