Do no harm: the role of humanitarian aid and neutrality in protracting civil wars

John Sunday Ojo, Anisa Abeytia*, Esther Brito Ruiz, Taha Alloosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We review the impact of humanitarian actors in civil war through the examina-tion of the concepts of neutrality and impartiality – embedded within the ‘do no harm’ principle. We argue that despite the rationale of principles seeking to detach international action from the embodied dynamics of conflict, these governing tenets have effectively served to reinforce power discrepancies between authoritarian regimes, opposition forces, and civilians in civil wars. Because humanitarian practices have so often been co-opted to strengthen the position of authoritarian regimes and inflict harm, we trace their impact in conflict networks and assess whether they serve to further protract and unba-lance civil war
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341–366
JournalCivil Wars
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023

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