Dr. Phoebe Wynn-Pope


Is the Director of IHL and Movement Relations at Australian Red Cross. Prior to this, she was the Director of the Melbourne-based Humanitarian Advisory Group.

  • Protecting humanity from the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons: Reframing the debate towards the humanitarian impact

    The international community has been struggling to reach agreement on the nonproliferation and elimination of nuclear weapons since they were first used in 1945. Encouragingly, recent global debate has, for the first time, focused on the devastating humanitarian consequences that the use of nuclear weapons will have not only for nuclear weapons States but for all humanity. The fact that the risks and overwhelming humanitarian consequences of a nuclear event are so high, combined with the inability of the global community to adequately respond to the needs of victims, has compelled policy-makers to consider new ways to work towards the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons under international law. This article examines how the "humanitarian initiative" has reframed the nuclear weapons debate away from the traditional realm of State security, deterrence and military utility, and towards the grim reality of the humanitarian impacts that would confront humankind if nuclear weapons were ever used again.

  • Legislating against humanitarian principles: A case study on the humanitarian implications of Australian counterterrorism legislation

    The humanitarian principles – humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence – have come to characterize effective humanitarian action, particularly in situations of armed conflict, and have provided a framework for the broader humanitarian system. Modern counterterrorism responses are posing significant challenges to these principles and the feasibility of conducting principled humanitarian assistance and protection activities. This article explores the origins of the principles, the history behind their development, and their contemporary contribution to humanitarian action. The article then discusses some of the ways in which the principles are threatened, both by practice and by law, in the Australian context, and finally makes suggestions as to how the principles can be reclaimed and protected for the future of effective, impartial humanitarian action.