In the mid-nineties the relief and development communities were able to draw on a series of examples to highlight the misgivings and the successes of their involvement in complex political emergencies. Especially the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina, the intervention in Somalia and the genocide in Rwanda, and, to a less visible extent, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, have determined the way humanitarian operations are perceived as performing a political function. Virtually all major humanitarian and development institutions have reflected on these experiences and therefore developed guidelines that should govern the approach to relief and development assistance in complex political emergencies as well as in a post-conflict context. They have thereby reacted and contributed to the emergence of a new paradigm in which relief and development are seen as tools not only to save lives and to reduce poverty but "in so doing to prevent the renewal of conflict. In other words, it is an explicit strategy to influence the course of political violence, one based on a particular analysis of its causes and on the assumption that aid can effectively address them." This paper argues that the paradigm of aid as a form of conflict prevention and resolution is closely related to, if not determined by another new paradigm: preventing migration through eliminating its root causes. The recent Action Plans of the European Union High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration have to be seen in the wider context of these two paradigms and their misgivings in order to understand the meaning of its policies for both refugee protection and development cooperation.
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