Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Security

Ten years of conflict in Darfur between the Sudanese government and an array of rebel groups and militias have caused a humanitarian emergency. In the early stages of the conflict, between 2004 and 2009, some two dozen agencies provided ‘cross-line’ humanitarian assistance in territory controlled by rebel movements. Although urgent humanitarian needs persist in these areas, by 2011 all cross-line aid had stopped. This article explores the issues around humanitarian access to rebel and contested areas in Darfur, and analyses the reasons why such assistance has come to an end, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need. The…
While the operating space for aid agencies in Afghanistan has diminished as the conflict has intensified and the insurgent presence has expanded, humanitarian engagement with the Taliban remains taboo. In practice, however, many aid agencies working in insecure areas engage with insurgents to gain access to those in need of assistance. Yet little substantive research has been conducted on Taliban attitudes towards aid agencies. In 2012, researchers conducted some 150 interviews with the Taliban, aid agency staff and ordinary Afghans, examining Taliban attitudes and policies towards aid agencies and humanitarian and development work. Field research focused on two provincial case…
South Sudan is host to one of the world’s largest humanitarian responses, bringing together national and international humanitarian actors in an operation worth more than $1.2 billion in 2013. While the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 brought an end to the civil war and led to the creation of an independent country, the security situation in the new nation remains volatile. Out of a population of 12 million, more than 4.6m are food insecure, many of them recent returnees. Ongoing tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as communal violence within the country, displace hundreds of thousands of…
Core to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s approach to assistance is sending international staff into foreign contexts to work with, and usually direct, locally recruited national staff. Outsiders bring experience, leadership and technical skills, and are in a better position to ‘witness’ intolerable situations and speak out about them. International staff are also better able to resist local pressures for resource diversion, giving MSF greater confidence that donor money is being spent appropriately. For many within and outside MSF, this model is the only responsible option because the compromises assumed to be inherent in a remotely managed programme are unacceptable. MSF-Operational…
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…
This article discusses how experience from the 2008 Israeli military operation in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, resulted in important changes to humanitarian civil–military coordination strategies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The civil–military component of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is called COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), a small specialist unit with responsibility for the daily coordination of humanitarian and development activities with the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian population and international organisations in the oPt. COGAT has its own courses and career progression and, unlike many other militaries, which use reserve officers, is staffed by active duty…
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…
In July 2011, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group asked the Task Force on Humanitarian Space and Civil–Military Relations to review and update the IASC Non-binding Guidelines on the Use of Military and Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys (2001). The primary concerns that led to the decision to revise the guidelines were the recognition of a growing reliance on armed escorts, the need to synchronise a more robust decision-making process on the use of armed escorts with the new UN Security Management System (SMS) and inconsistencies in the interpretation and application of the out-of-date guidelines. The revised guidelines, which…
With an annual budget of $650 billion and over two million military and civilian personnel, the US Department of Defense is the largest institution in the world. Since September 2001, its primary focus has been the ‘global war on terror’, a war of avowedly unlimited scope and duration. Its critical components include counter-insurgency and stabilisation operations, which have increasingly involved the US military in relief and development activities. NGOs have struggled to develop a unified response to the growing scope and pace of US military involvement in areas normally reserved for civilian leadership and action. Although regular dialogue has been…
The special feature of this edition of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Victoria Metcalfe, focuses on issues related to humanitarian civil– military coordination. In the leading article, Simone Haysom sets out the rationale for civil–military coordination, and the challenges involved in establishing effective relations between humanitarian actors and the military. In their article, Jenny McAvoy and Joel R. Charny argue that NGOs must continue to invest in dialogue to address new challenges arising from the US military’s expanding presence in increasingly diverse contexts and roles. Heiko Herkel, from the Civil–Military Co-operation Centre of Excellence (CCOE), makes the case for the continued…
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