Category: Humanitarianism

Migrants Are Dying in the Forests on the EU’s Eastern Borders

The humanitarian crisis on the Poland-Belarus border has claimed several lives. On 30 September, the Polish parliament extended the state of emergency in a three-kilometre-deep strip of land along the border. It is hard to assess the situation in detail, as neither the media nor humanitarian organizations have access to this area, but we know… Read more »

Broadening the Concept of Humanitarian Accountability

Since the 1990s, Western humanitarian organizations have increasingly been concerned with developing tools to assess the efficiency of aid delivery, to establish minimum standards and benchmarks for aid projects, and to convincingly communicate their organizational transparency and accountability to stakeholders. As an extension of these debates, attempts have been made to carve out common guidelines… Read more »

Contingency Planning in the Digital Age: Biometric Data of Afghans Must Be Reconsidered

The situation in Afghanistan changes by the minute. In this blog post, we want to call attention to a largely overlooked issue: protection of Afghan refugees or other Afghans who have been registered biometrically by humanitarian or military agencies. Having collected biometrics from various parts of the Afghan population, for different purposes and with different… Read more »

Humanitarian Biometrics in Yemen: The complex politics of humanitarian technology

The introduction of biometrics in Yemen is a prime example of challenges related to the use of biometric solutions in humanitarian contexts. The complexity of the situation in Yemen needs to be acknowledged by policy makers and other stakeholders involved in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country.

Russia Readying for Compromise on the UN Humanitarian Aid to Syria

The UN Security Council is due to make a decision on a particular and particularly controversial issue pertaining to the humanitarian disaster in Syria by July 10, and Russia positions itself as the key part of the problem and a necessary contributor to a solution. The discord in the UN Security Council (SC) on the… Read more »

The Politics of Refugee Relief: UNRWA and the Ongoing Funding Crisis

On 9 November 2020 Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, tweeted: “I am pained to announce that despite all efforts to raise the resources for @UNRWA 2020, I informed our 28,000 staff that we do not have enough funds to pay their salaries in full this month”. This is a desperate situation for the… Read more »

Which Countries Win (and Lose) When We Add Democracy to the Human Development Index?

The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) is a major achievement. It has focused the world’s attention on the human aspects of development, highlighting and featuring not just economic gains but also schooling and education and life expectancy. In this, it was a hugely important corrective for a development community that tended to have a pure… Read more »

COVID-19: A call for people-centered national security strategy in Africa

Humanity has been extraordinarily challenged by the coronavirus with serious and unprecedented impacts on all aspects of human life and the ways states have been functioning and managing public affairs. COVID-19 may either consolidate global solidarity or it may take humanity on a path toward the demise of globalization and multilateralism. There is no doubt… Read more »

A Path to Peace and Stability Through Food Aid

This piece was originally posted on the PRIO blog in 2018. We’re reposting it now in 2020 on the occasion of the World Food Programme winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Constant war drove Fazle, his wife and four children away from their home and farm in the Khyber region of Pakistan eight years ago. They… Read more »

Red Lines and Grey Zones: Ethical dilemmas in humanitarian negotiations and the need for a research agenda

When turning humanitarian principles into practice, humanitarian organisations are faced with a range of difficult ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas are rarely as tangible as when the organisations negotiate with local counterparts for access and programming in settings of armed conflict. This dimension of humanitarian negotiations remains to be systematically studied, and we hereby argue why… Read more »