The last two decades have witnessed an increasing blurring of mandates and agendas between humanitarian actors, foreign troops and donor states. Many observers point out that this trend is spiking violence against aid workers and provoking loss of access to humanitarian agencies in several complex emergencies. This study is an effort to quantify its actual impact in humanitarian operations.
Although strongly agency-specific, available data suggests that the blurring of lines is indeed a key driver of both violent incidents and lack of access in Afghanistan. However, in other contexts such as Somalia and Sudan, its impact may not be so evident; in these two countries, the blur also seems determinant in hindering access, whereas it has less explanatory power interpreting trends on security incidents faced by aid workers. Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan account for half of the total number of violent cases hitting humanitarians worldwide.
This paper critically examines attempts to conceptualise the use of military intervention on humanitarian grounds, with a focus on the ‘responsibility to protect’ framework, and offers discussion of the way forward in light of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the US-led ‘war on terror’. It traces the history of the concept from its post-Cold War origins through to the UN World Summit of September 2005. The paper concludes with a brief review of the challenges that face the international community in moving forward, and the specific contributions that might be made by the UK government.
Relationships between the humanitarian and military communities have tended to be difficult. Nevertheless, during the 1990s a fragile and rather patchy consensus emerged on the norms, expectations and institutional arrangements underpinning that relationship. This article examines the model that emerged through the 1990s and considers the impact of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in general and the invasion of Iraq in particular.
This is a brief primer on the legal aspects of military-based, international humanitarian and civic assistance, with an emphasis on UK and US authorities and limitations. Military doctrine and plans need to create consistent, clear and coordinated guidelines reflecting HCA missions competing with other politico-military objectives, done with less money, and fewer assets than in the past. Based on those changing policies and realities, this paper will close by suggesting some guiding principles for why and how US and coalition forces should accomplish HCA, instead of dubious predictions of when and where HCA will take place.
The partnership between the civil and military elements of peace support operations has generally not been a very happy one. Differences in their immediate aims, in their needs concerning relations with local groups as well as in their formulation and attitudes often creates conflicts and misunderstandings. In this paper, the reasons for these difficulties are described and analysed from the point of view of how the international mission could be perceived as a threat by local groups and leaders.
Furthermore, a new institution meant to ease some of these problems, the Institution for Co-ordination in Complex Emergencies – ICCE – composed of the civil and military organisations present in the area, is proposed and discussed. It is concluded that the ICCE has to grow based on voluntary organisational contributions rather than on compulsory ones. When tested on the earlier identified problems it can be concluded that an ICCE may ease problems due to differences in organisational structures as well as misunderstandings and distrust. However, an ICCE only provides marginal aid in dealing with political problems such as national control over forces, or principles regarding which immediate aims are to be prioritised.
This article will investigate the process of demilitarization as conducted by the United Nations in Mozambique, first examining the framing of the objectives and demilitarization programme, secondly the implementation of demilitarization and finally analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the demilitarization programme in Mozambique.
Can the military be humanitarian? Should it? The `can’ part of the question can be divided between competence and capacity. The `should’ question, although obviously linked to capacity is essentially political.
Humanitarian Intervention is a problematic instrument of foreign policy; its basis, formulation, and implementation are widely discussed, yet no consensus seems to have emerged so far. All major multilateral humanitarian interventions of this decade – Somalia, Bosnia, and, with qualifications, Rwanda – have proven more than problematic; only the operation to provide a safe zone for the persecuted Iraqi Kurds in the wake of the Second Gulf War has, under very particular conditions, been a relative success. Cautionary comments on humanitarian intervention and pessimism concerning the political feasibility of long overdue reform of the UN system seem appropriate in this context.
In this article I will argue that many of the problems typically associated with this new type of humanitarian assistance are in fact present in all kinds of humanitarian action. I will particularly dispute the claim that a politicisation of the humanitarian relief system lies at the root of the present problems. This claim has relevance only insofar as its bearing on all sorts of humanitarian action is recognised; there are no apolitical decisions in the field of humanitarian assistance. A similar point is made concerning the nature of practical problems supposedly raised by this “new humanitarianism”: practical problems in this field are merely indications of unresolved moral dilemmas haunting all forms of emergency relief.
This paper will look at the current wave of interventionism in the Third World and at some of its implications for North-South relations. It will identify and discuss three related and somewhat contradictory trends – militarization, privatization and diversion – which seem to be increasingly important features of the new world disorder. The point of view is that of the humanitarian practitioner who observes with considerable disquiet the sea changes that are taking place in what used to be, at least conceptually, a simpler and more predictable universe. Gone are the crisp concepts of the Cold War era. Everything seemed to make sense then, and what did not could not be questioned: it was relatively easy to make stubborn facts conform to grand theory. In the space of half a decade the world has become a much more complicated place, and theory is sorely lacking.
This paper examines the rise of the military humanitarian policy of the United Nations since 1992 and outlines the new military doctrine on peacekeeping. First it explores how a military based approach to the increasing number of complex political emergencies emerged as a deliberate policy within the United Nations in the new humanitarian era after the Cold War. Secondly, it looks at various NGO reactions to this new era. Thirdly, it compares the very different nature of today’s UN peacekeeping operations with its Cold War predecessors. Fourthly, it examines current British Army doctrine of “wider peacekeeping” and its emphasis on the principle of consent. Finally, it takes the view that the new peacekeeping is here to stay and that the main challenge facing all those involved in humanitarian assistance is to further refine its basic principles and techniques.
- “No patients, no problems:” Exposure to risk of medical personnel working in MSF projects in Yemen’s governorate of Amran
- Without Precedent or Prejudice? UNSC Resolution 2098 and its potential implications for humanitarian space in Eastern Congo and beyond
- Losing Principles in the Search for Coherence? A Field-Based Viewpoint on the EU and Humanitarian Aid