L’éthique humanitaire et la notion de justice

Silvia Quadrelli, Henri Colt, Camilo Alejandro Garcia


The bases of humanitarian assistance, beyond a legal norm – which appears to be essential given the inalienable obligations that result for all participating bodies – are influenced by philosophical and political conceptualizations framed in an ethics of justice.

Actors in the humanitarian field who adhere to the Rawlsian social contract model their actions based on a philosophy that assistance is a noble and desirable option that remains in the hands of those who offer aid, and who can freely choose to not offer such assistance.

Peter Singer and Thomas Pogge propose nuances to the understanding of the duty of assistance. Not assisting would be bad, basically tantamount to killing. Assistance is no longer a caring act deserving of praise, but rather a moral obligation.

The financial imperatives of associations, the growing complexity of activities and the development of an important element of communication lead to a professionalization of humanitarian medicine. A modern vision of humanitarian assistance requires an understanding of justice and solidarity and global outreach. We believe that ethics need to be embedded firmly in humanitarian actions that have clear political implications.

Key words: Humanitarian ethics; justice; NGOs


Humanitarian ethics, Justice, NGO’s

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.102.2217