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The human rights-based approach (HRBA) has filtered into humanitarian action over the past decade. In tangible fashion, this shift has provided guidance and standards for aid itself. Beneficiaries have become something greater than populations in need of assistance – they have become sets of individuals possessing rights. HRBA thinking thus transforms the wants/needs of people in crisis into obligations demanding a response. Given that we humanitarians are often the only ones on the ground interested in or in a position to provide such a response, the impact of HRBA has radically changed the discursive framework under which humanitarian action is performed.

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Refugee Studies Centre

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