Globalization, Humanitarianism and the Erosion of Refugee Protection

Posted: 27 Apr 2001  

B. S. Chimni

Jawaharlal Nehru University


While humanitarianism has always had a presence in international politics it has never had the salience it possesses today. This may be attributed to the fact that humanitarianism is the ideology of hegemonic states in the era of globalization marked by the end of the Cold War and a growing North-South divide. The paper explores at first the relationship between globalization and humanitarianism as it manifests itself in the world of international law and politics and emphasizes that the Northern commitment to humanitarianism coexists with a range of practices which violate its essence. It then goes on to show how the new humanitarianism is causing the erosion of the fundamental principles of refugee protection and is transforming the character of UNHCR. The paper concludes with some recommendations on how to move from new humanitarianism to just humanitarianism.

Suggested Citation

Chimni, B. S., Globalization, Humanitarianism and the Erosion of Refugee Protection. Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2000. Available at SSRN:

B. S. Chimni (Contact Author)

Jawaharlal Nehru University ( email )

School of International Studies
New Delhi

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