Who carries the flag of humanitarianism? To understand that, one might remember a conversation some people had with Eleanor Roosevelt in 1948 just a few days before the approval of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The world was full of totalitarian regimes, all fighting the tenets of the Declaration. Mrs. Roosevelt’s answer to the question about who would carry the flag of human rights was “a curious grapevine,” by which she meant the NGO community (Special to NY Times 1948). That is the future of humanitarianism. Governments are needed, and industry, and international organizations and the media; without NGOs keeping everyone else honest, the world will be in deep trouble. The tools to win this victory will be lobbying and diplomacy.
- Special to NY Times. (1948, December 8). Mrs. Roosevelt reveals human rights “grapevine”. New York Times, p. 13.Google Scholar