1st Edition

The Humanitarian Exit Dilemma The Moral Cost of Withdrawing Aid

By Chin Ruamps Copyright 2023
    156 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How should humanitarian organisations respond when their aid goes awry? Should they stay and remain engaged with the needy, or should they withdraw and leave? Investigating the choices involved and the judgements required when tackling these questions, this book explores the unique ‘Humanitarian Exit Dilemma’ that confronts humanitarian organisations.

    Humanitarian practitioners often are too concerned with the outcome of action but fail to recognise that there are other equally weighty moral considerations they should consider. Focusing simply on the results of projects, such as the number of lives saved alone, is inadequate. To address this problem, this book highlights three value-based normative considerations, namely humanitarian aid workers’ special relationships with those whom they are assisting, humanitarian organisations’ causal responsibility to assist those they have made vulnerable, and humanitarian organisations’ obligations to fulfil reasonable expectations of those assisted. Together, these three non-instrumental reasonings serve as the main arguments of the author's value-based normative account, the ‘Non-Consequentialist Approach’, to address the Humanitarian Exit Dilemma.

    Offering a unique perspective on how humanitarian organisations should navigate the Humanitarian Exit Dilemma, this book will be of interest to scholars and practitioners in the field of Humanitarian Studies, African Studies, Refugee Studies, political philosophy, humanitarian action, and human rights.

    Chapter 1: Introduction  Chapter 2: The Manifestation of Humanitarian Exit Dilemma  Chapter 3: Special Relationships in Conflict  Chapter 4: Vulnerability and Distinct Obligation  Chapter 5: Affected Populations’ Reasonable Expectations and Promissory Obligation  Chapter 6: A Normative Account to Address the Humanitarian Exit Dilemma


    Chin Ruamps is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Management, Society and Communication at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. She is also a member of the Centre for Business and Development Studies.

    "This is a very important contribution to the growing field of humanitarian ethics. Exit ethics will become more pressing in humanitarian policy as climate emergency, authoritarianism and budget cuts increase around the world. Chin Ruamps delivers an original approach which avoids the misleading simplicity of utilitarian arguments to focus on human values, binding relationships and moral obligations. A vital read."
    Hugo Slim, Las Casas Institute for Social Justice, University of Oxford, UK