Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Politics

Most humanitarian donors recognise the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality as a foundation for action in situations of conflict and complex emergency. They are enshrined in the ‘European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid’ adopted by European Union (EU) donors in December 2007 and are a key component of the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, first signed by donors in 2003. In practice, however, donors are confronted with numerous challenges to the application of humanitarian principles. There is growing political pressure to portray humanitarian action as part of the crisis management toolbox, or to link it to counter-insurgency,…
Recent years have seen tremendous change in Yemen. The popular uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime in 2011 led to a process of transition where parties to past conflicts engaged in an open and frank discussion about the country's future, and Yemen is seen by many as one of the very few countries where the events of the Arab Spring still hold out the promise of democratic change. Much of the world's attention has focused on the political process and security issues because of the country's strategic position, in terms of both energy production in the region and international…
Insecurity in Yemen has risen sharply in recent months as several parallel conflicts have intensified and expanded. Hundreds of killings have been attributed to the state security services, tribal militias and Sunni and Shia movements since the start of the year. This spike in violence has taken place amidst – and has contributed directly to – a worsening humanitarian situation, and aid access has been curtailed. While there is some hope that the ongoing political transition, including the National Dialogue process, will help to bring stability, it may also lead to further conflict and greater humanitarian challenges. The evolving security…
With over two million Syrians seeking safety in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, highly political issues of citizenship, the role of the state and the status and entitlements of non-nationals are pressing questions for a large and rapidly growing number of people. The refugee crisis – one element of a larger displacement crisis affecting nearly 80% of the estimated 8.7m Syrians deemed to be in a situation of humanitarian need[1] – is massive and affects the entire region. It is unlikely that the war in Syria will end soon, and when it does it is implausible that refugees will immediately…
Organisers of anti-government protests in Syria were rapidly forced underground by the state’s heavy security response. The networks and techniques that activists had honed to stage demonstrations, evading pervasive government surveillance, interference, detention and assault, were soon put to use in delivering a wide range of humanitarian and social support. This article focuses on the emergence, function and structure of these hybrid networks, particularly in Damascus, taking into consideration the repressive security conditions they operated in, the significance of such networks from the perspective of the regime and the implications for the social fabric of Syria overall. These networks changed…
Islamic Relief is one of the few humanitarian organisations working cross-border to deliver aid in response to the deepening crisis in Syria. The conflict in the country has killed tens of thousands of people, and has driven over 1.5 million across its borders. For those still inside the country, needs are increasingly acute as conditions continue to deteriorate. It is estimated that over six million people are in need inside Syria. Islamic Relief staff have seen for themselves the horrific situation inside Syria. Millions are thought to be in dire need of food, water and sanitation. In the countries that…
A political or military solution to stop the carnage in Syria seems as remote as ever. The war seems only to bring even worse depths of human suffering and diplomatic impotence. Syrian civilians are in a state, not just of terror, but of horror – hostages in a geopolitical, ideological and sectarian catastrophe. On the face of it, getting humanitarian assistance to the millions affected should be easier to deal with than the political and military mess. In the space of two years, a major relief operation within Syria has indeed come to life despite the extreme circumstances. But these…
Dialogue between military and civilian actors is problematic in Somalia, and no more so than in the southern port city of Kismayo, what was the Islamist group al-Shabaab’s last remaining garrison. Considered the most complex urban space in the country, Kismayo is an important trade centre less than 200km from the Kenyan border, and the ultimate prize for the warring sub-clans in the region. After the fall of Siad Barre in 1991, the city was dominated by a succession of some of Somalia’s most feared warlords, and most recently by al-Shabaab. The liberation of Kismayo, the fulcrum of al-Shabaab’s economic…
International police and Formed Police Units (FPUs) are deployed in a range of contexts and by a range of actors, including the UN, the European Union and the African Union (AU).[1] Their tasks include substituting for national law enforcement actors, empowering or building their capacity and monitoring their performance, as well as joint patrols and co-location with national police forces, crowd control and criminal investigations. These forces have also become increasingly involved in the protection of civilians under threat. This article assesses the experience of the police component of the UN/AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), outlining the challenges it…
The latest DAC peer review of Austria (November 1999) once again highlights Austria’s poor position of overseas development aid (ODA). This is characterised on the one hand by the small amount of money involved, and on the other by the lack of an overall aid policy and strategy that links all components to a clear set of development objectives. Total ODA of Austria in 1998 was 0.22 per cent of GNP (410m Euros), compared to 0.26 per cent in 1997. About one-fifth of Austria’s ODA still consists of components not primarily targeted at the development of the receiving country (for example, aid for refugees in Austria, indirect study costs in Austria,…
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