Author: Kristin B. Sandvik

Humanitarian governance and localization: What kind of world is being imagined and produced?

While localization is high on the agenda for humanitarian actors, at present, humanitarian governance does not support the localization agenda. To understand better why, we explore three issues underpinning humanitarian governance: the problem construction, consolidation and growth of the sector, and the sorting of civilians. We conclude that the localization agenda is important, but for… Read more »

The Weaponization of Killer Trucks: Vehicular Terror and Vehicular Crypts

On October 23, 2019, 39 bodies were found inside a refrigerator lorry on an industrial estate in Essex. The vehicle was registered in Varna, Bulgaria, had entered the UK four days before and was driven by a man from Northern-Ireland. The victims – 38 adults and a teenager – were identified as Vietnamese. This incident is just… Read more »

New Directions in Humanitarian Governance: Technology, Juridification and Criminalization

According to an influential conception, humanitarian governance entails ‘the increasingly organized and internationalized attempt to save the lives, enhance the welfare, and reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable populations.’ The actors involved in humanitarian governance include affected populations, civil society, host governments, the military, the private sector, international organisations and NGOs, and donors. Much… Read more »

Safeguarding women after disasters: some progress, but not enough

Hundreds of Mozambicans were killed and thousands made homeless recently by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. Almost immediately, there were reports of a sadly familiar story: women being forced to trade sex for food by local community leaders distributing aid. Globally, international organisations appear to be grappling with the issue more seriously than before. Yet reports about sexual exploitation keep coming. How… Read more »

The Needs, Challenges and Power Dynamics of Refugee Resettlement

This fall, the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) was held in New York. The 193 UN member states gather annually to discuss, and sometimes act upon, global issues. Refugees were on the agenda in 2018, not only because numbers are historically high (25.4 million at the end of 2017) but also because… Read more »

The mass killing of women activists in Latin America: making political violence visible

In 2017, Latin America was described by the UN as the world’s most violent continent for women. The assassinations of women activists and community leaders have continued across the region in 2018. While the killing of Marielle Franco, a favela community leader, and the unraveling of government-private enterprise collusion in the 2016 killing of Berta… Read more »

Dead Male Bodies: A Challenge for Feminist Legal Thought

The scholarship on law, conflict and suffering has for the past two decades been dominated by a moral and analytical concern with “women and children” and sexual violence. However, when we look up and do the body count out in the physical and political world – in the city and along the borderlands – those… Read more »

A Venezuelan Incident: Maduro and the Politics of Latin American Drones

On 4 August 2018, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s speech at a military parade in Caracas was interrupted by the sound of two explosions. Maduro’s camp immediately claimed that the explosions resulted from a failed assassination attempt by drones carrying explosives. Although the nature of the incident remains disputed, and is being described as “an apparent”… Read more »

From Principle to Practice: Humanitarian Innovation and Experimentation

Without methods to gauge success and failure, and without appropriate ethical frameworks, humanitarian tech may do more harm than good. Humanitarian organizations have an almost impossible task: They must balance the imperative to save lives with the commitment to do no harm. They perform this balancing act amidst chaos, with incredibly high stakes and far… Read more »