Essay about Humanitarian Assistance and Sierra Leone

Essay about Humanitarian Assistance and Sierra Leone

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Humanitarian Assistance and Sierra Leone


When a country fails to provide the basic needs of survival for its people, the international community is faced with the issue of intervention. However, there exists no clearly defined doctrine to guide governments or humanitarian organizations in these matters. Some people believe that the protection of sovereignty is more important than the possible benefits of intervention, preferring that governments focus on domestic concerns. Opposing this are those who believe that humanitarian intervention is necessary to resolve many conflicts and that the preservation of life trumps all else. Still another mentality suggests that these two goals are not mutually exclusive—that the members of the international community are capable of controlling their own countries while still being able to intervene in some countries. One good example of such intervention is Sierra Leone . Daniel Bergner in the book In the Land of Magic Soldiers says that this country has “been named by the United Nations, for the third year in a row, as the worst on earth. . . . Sierra Leone was . . . ravaged by what was perhaps the most horrific civil war in a land [ Africa ] of civil wars” (10). What follows is an exploration of these three arguments, with specific examples taken from the conflict in Sierra Leone .


Some brief background information on the conflict in Sierra Leone and Britain ’s involvement is needed to understand the points that will be made next. The civil war in Sierra Leone revolved around two main parties: the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the government of Sierra Leone . Both sides of this bloody civil war were fighting for control—ov...

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...he Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.” Millennium Report to the United Nations. 2000. Accessed 1 March 2006 . .

Bergner, Daniel. In the Land of Magic Soldiers. New York : Picador, 2003.

Evans, Gareth and Mohamed Sahnoun. “The Responsibility to Protect.” Foreign Affairs v81 i6 (2002). Accessed 1 March 2006 . .

Lake, Anthony. 6 Nightmares: Real Threats in a Dangerous World and How America Can Meet Them. New York : Little, Brown, and Co.: 2000.

Roberts, Adam. “Humanitarian Intervention Is Not Effective.” Interventionism. Paul Winters. Current Controversies. San Diego : Greenhaven Press, Inc.: 1995.

Sharp, Jane. “Moral Considerations Should Outweigh Political Arguments On Intervention.” Interventionism. Paul Winters. Current Controversies. San Diego : Greenhaven Press, Inc.: 1995.

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