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The Ethics of Refugee Aid


  • Nourpanah, Shiva

    () (Atlantic Metropolis Centre, Halifax, Canada)


This paper examines the ethics of refugee aid, attempting to answer “Why do States engage in refugee aid?” Moving beyond the simplistic answer based on the notion of charity, which demonstrably fits ill with the essentially positivist methodology of conducting refugee aid, an ethical model is construed based on the Weberian concept of action as an instrument of rationality. This is supported with critical readings from Hannah Arendt, amongst others, and also my own experiences as a former UNHCR aid worker. However, although this model better captures ground realities, it negates the individuality and humanity of refugees. Thus refugee aid as a form of global, transnational justice will be presented, based on readings from Amartya Sen.

Suggested Citation

  • Nourpanah, Shiva, 2011. "The Ethics of Refugee Aid," Ethics and Economics, CREUM, Université de Montréal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-9.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:etheco:0037

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    More about this item


    refugee aid; ethical framework; refugee aid as global justice; refugee aid as instrument of rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other


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