To provide assistance and resources to those in need; to uphold a moral obligation.
In the face of conflict and poverty, many people can find themselves without a home and without the basic necessities for survival. In many humanitarian crises, the survivors are simply victims of circumstance and find themselves in their predicaments by no action of their own. The majority of Americans believe that we have a duty to help them. Providing humanitarian aid upholds a moral obligation to help those in need, men, women, and children.
Furthermore, aid can allow for assistance in various ways ranging from economic assistance to addressing health concerns. For example, U.S. humanitarian aid has played a vital role in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide. The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) has invested $70 billion to fight HIV/AIDs. In 2016, aid towards fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic supported antiretroviral treatment for 11.5 million men, women, and children, prevented nearly 2 million babies from being born with HIV, and provided 74.3 million people with HIV testing and counseling.
To aid in economic development that could prevent future crises.
In addition to humanitarian aid, U.S. aid can also be used to aid development efforts that can play a role in preventing crises, especially as it concerns economic development. Economic development is very important as it allows nations to uphold their standards of living and provide jobs as well as infrastructure; it provides nations with the means needed to provide for their citizens and decrease poverty when allocated effectively and sustainably. Development efforts are crucial in building societies and rebuilding societies after conflict.
To provide stability in times of conflict.
Conflict, poverty, and other humanitarian crises can be great disruptions in the lives of those impacted because they may be displaced and unable to provide for themselves. Humanitarian aid provides them with the resources to continue with their lives amid their circumstances. For example, humanitarian aid can provide education for children who have been displaced.
Additionally, providing aid can assist in counteracting the rise of some militant groups who could capitalize on the lack of resources and feelings of hopelessness. The Taliban is one such militant group whose rise was aided by promises of stability amid war and conflict. The rise of militant groups can cause additional instability in times of conflict by targeting civilians within those countries. Additionally, militant groups can threaten the security of the United States if they evolve into terrorist organizations. Thus stability in nations that are beneficiaries of U.S. foreign aid not only protects that nation’s civilians from attacks, but it also ensures the national security of the United States and other foreign nations.
To stand behind our values and change the perception of the United States.
The United States claims to be a country committed to human rights. In fact, we often view ourselves as the model nation for others to follow as it concerns human rights as well as democracy. In order to truly demonstrate a commitment to human rights, the United States must provide humanitarian aid for those in need, especially in the face of human rights violations. In providing for others and standing behind our values, the U.S. can improve our global perception as countries often look more favorably on the United State when we provide humanitarian aid. The United States has the opportunity to be a leader in human rights and democracy; however, that cannot happen if the U.S. does not continue providing foreign aid, which makes up a little over 1% of the budget. The United States must continue providing foreign aid, especially humanitarian aid, for the good of the nations that are beneficiaries, the good of the United States, and the good of the world as a whole.
Written by Deirdre Jonese Austin, Georgetown University Class of 2019, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Culture & Politics Major, Focus in Religion & Social Justice (Summer 2017 – WACC Intern)