Mediation of peace agreements bringing an end to armed conflict has become increasingly popular since the end of the Cold War. In the context of armed conflict, mediation has been undertaken by states, non-governmental organisations, regional and international organisations, and even individuals. Until recently, international peace mediation was undertaken on an ad hoc basis and in the absence of formal guidelines. Recently, however, various attempts have been made to formalise and professionalise international peace mediation to a certain extent. The UN and EU have set up offices dedicated to mediation, non-governmental organisations have been branded as ‘mediation experts’ and have led and supported mediation processes in conflict zones and numerous sets of guidelines, seeking to guide and regulate mediators have been created. This paper analyses the theory and practice of international peace mediation, with a special focus on the codes of conduct which seek to direct these mediators.
The study reveals that hunger is as much the result of poor or weak governance precipitating economic downturn as that of episodic natural or manmade events causing individual and community crises. Effective governance provides an enabling environment which facilitates effective institutional capacity, and the policies and legislative measures needed to pave the way so that individuals, households and communities acquire the sustained ability to reduce hunger. Action by a government to genuinely engage in anti-hunger action fuels the shared views and determination of its citizens to enhance the quality of their lives. This can be accomplished by leveraging physical, social and intellectual resources towards nation building. Humanitarian organisations must now build on their experience and expertise to forge a coalition with their national and international partners in order to strengthen the capacity of national systems for greater accountability to guarantee hunger solutions for their citizens.
This article analyses the case of the steering committees established by the Italian NGO INTERSOS in Lebanon following 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah. They are proposed here as an example of transformative humanitarianism which is able to fully respect the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, acting at the same time as a mean to strengthen state’s authority, and to reinforce the linkages between the central government and the local civil society. Obviously the experience which will be described in this article is deeply rooted in the context of Lebanon, however some relevant features could prove extremely useful in other areas of intervention.
The forced displacement of 2.2 million persons during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was not a by-product of war but served the purpose of ethnic cleansing. An important aspect of redress for forced migration and displacement is the right of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to freely choose among three durable solutions: repatriation/return, integration, and resettlement. In the context of post-Dayton BiH, this right has been an artificial one as it has been exercised in a political environment that prioritises return. The goal of reversing ethnic cleansing through return has dominated what should be a neutral humanitarian process focused on the needs of individual refugees and IDPs. Weak conditions for sustainable return combined with the absence of alternatives to return have left many Bosnians without access to any durable solution. There is an urgent need to depoliticize the humanitarian space and to provide refugees, IDPs and returnees with genuine options.
The Violence Against Women Unit of the Attorney General’s Office is the first of its kind in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It is also the first specialized system response to the issue of violence against women that was designed with the voices of the victims echoing throughout the process. This article, written by the Gender Justice Adviser who assisted in planning the VAW Unit, discusses the results of an in-depth focus group conducted with women victims of violence. The article shines light on the issues affecting the investigation and prosecution of crimes against women from the victim-perspective, provides narratives about women’s experiences of violence and the current and continuing formal and informal system responses to crimes against women and explores the recommendations for future reforms from women victims of violence themselves.
Based on interviews and field work in Rwanda over the course of two years, this article argues that genocide survivors have been excluded from the human rights guarantees and protections offered to refugees and asylum seekers experiencing persecution and threat to their lives and welfare. It illustrates how genocide survivors are subject to unique psychological and social vulnerabilities, including psycho-social trauma and high levels of chronic stress which impede their capacity to rehabilitate themselves and rebuild their lives. Many are forced to live in the same neighborhoods and villages as the genocidaires that raped and tortured them as well as their families and friends, and who murdered many of their closest kin. This is an intrinsically psychologically destabilizing position which burdens and overwhelms genocide survivors, subjecting them to continuous retraumatization. Consequently, it argues that genocide survivors should be granted special privileged immigration rights to resettlement outside of Rwanda.
This paper examines issues concerning forced displacement of people in Colombia and Liberia within the context of 20th-century internal armed conflicts. It explores how displacement is related to group identities such as gender and age, and it examines the displacement crisis in Colombia and Liberia. It argues that a commitment–implementation gap, or the failure of Colombia and Liberia to implement effective strategies to meet their commitment to global norms and principles as stipulated in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, limits these countries’ ability to manage their displacement crisis effectively.
Advocacy is at the heart of conflict-related humanitarianism. Yet, nowadays when referred to this field, it seems to have lost its value-neutral denotation and its original and positive meaning. This paper claims that especially in its public form advocacy has become a ‘good word gone bad’. The discussion seeks to evidence that today advocacy has assumed a negative connotation due to its widespread political interpretation, denouncing strategy, aggressive approach and visibility goals. The analysis attempts to highlight the main reasons behind this deviation, to explain and interpret it through conceptual and theoretical frameworks and to outline the challenges, limits and dilemmas that it has engendered. The examination of two examples tries to shows the feasibility of advocacy initiatives framed within its original and positive meaning. Together with the study of other examples the paper concludes with few potential stimuli to the future reflections on the contours of this core humanitarian function.
A new paradigm is needed in the 21st century for conceptualizing the right to asylum as a basic right of humanity, a right conceptualized by Arendt from her perspective as a mid-century stateless person as the right to have rights. This revised paradigm must include certain features which haven’t been well-articulated in the 20th century right to asylum, historically based in Europe as the right of non-refoulement. This paper argues that the right to asylum of those fleeing genocide is based on humanity’s central, weighty interests in not being killed or traumatized in the fleeing of murder or in the witnessing of death by starvation, disease, murder or animal attacks, as well as in being restored to a level of physical and psychological health required for the exercise of capacities for personhood, community and citizenship. My argument is that the combination of the centrality and weight of these interests combined with the relative powerlessness of those fleeing genocide outweigh the conflicting interests of developed countries to sustain their level of material wealth and to protect their culture and national ethos from those who wish to seek asylum in their countries.
According to the World Food Program (WFP) and The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the population growth was 2.77% per year and the estimated population in Ethiopia was 79.24 million in mid-year 2008 (FAO/WFP 2008:10). This estimation showed a significant population growth in Ethiopia. The second factor pertains to the unequal distribution of the population in Ethiopia which results in regions with high density of population having more demand for food. In this regard 36.7% of the Ethiopian population lives in Oromyia region, followed by the Amara region with 23.3% and the SNNP region with 20.4% (CSA 2008:10). These highly populated regions have a higher demand for food and have more propensity to develop starvation crises. During July 2008, 75,000 children were reported to be affected by Acute Severe Malnutrition and the prospect was worse for the rest of the year; Oromyia and SNNPR were the hot spots (OCHA 2008:1). Demographic factors may play an important role but there would need to be additional factors to account for the increase in food security since they cannot alone cause malnutrition.
- “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