Category: Humanitarianism

A Double Message about Safety and Security for Field Research: “Protection Is Crucial” and “Don’t Overdo It”

In January 2016, Giulio Regeni, PhD candidate of Cambridge University studying labour movement in Egypt went missing in Cairo where he did his fieldwork. His body was found a week later in a ditch near the city showing signs of torture and a slow death. His killers have not been found. His death has sent… Read more »

An Incomplete Picture of the Humanitarian Crisis in the Lake Chad Region

The broader context of the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region, particularly in Borno State in the northeast of Nigeria, remains largely unknown to a Western audience, and in the media coverage it is mostly the stories about Boko Haram’s atrocities that are being told. Everybody condemned the jihadist group Boko Haram This was… Read more »

No-Man’s Land

In the north-eastern corner of Jordan, thousands of Syrians are left stranded. In the north-eastern corner of Jordan, where the country borders both Iraq and Syria, a barrier resembling a mound of earth extends across the desert. Running parallel to this barrier is a second mound of earth, this time within Syrian territory. The area… Read more »

Most Importantly a Nobel for the Colombian People and the Victims of the Civil War

The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasizes that the award of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos is not only a prize given in recognition of his own personal efforts to end the more than 50 year old civil war in the country, but that this award is also given to… Read more »

White Helmets in the Dark Night

In the long dark night that is the Syrian nightmare, the White Helmets have become the only ray of light. “In an earlier PRIO blog post, Erica Chenoweth observed that “there are really two types of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates – elites (or elite-led institutions) and ordinary people.” This year, for example, the Colombian nominees… Read more »

The End Of Migrants As We Know Them?

The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants holds the promise of progress. But ahead of the summit, communications staff were pushing a warped view of migrant diversity. Even the International Organization of Migration (IOM) is straying from its mission to uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants. When migration issues rose to the top of… Read more »

Refugee Resettlement as Humanitarian Governance: The Need for a Critical Research Agenda

This blog post suggests understanding refugee resettlement as an instrument of humanitarian governance from the selection of refugees to their long-term integration. It presents a five-point research agenda aiming to investigate resettlement’s power dynamics in multiscalar perspective, with a focus on: political economy; the UNHCR’s competing goals; and the role of discretion, persuasion and coercion… Read more »

Against the Merger of Humanitarianism with Development and Security

In the recent World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul 23-24 May, the interconnections between humanitarianism, development and security were highlighted. Recognising that humanitarian assistance alone cannot address ‘the needs of over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people’, the conference chair’s summary report states: ‘A new and coherent approach is required based on addressing root… Read more »

African Drone Proliferation: The Meaning of Leapfrogging

The ongoing drone proliferation throughout Africa has received little critical attention. However, African drone proliferation has become a vehicle for the production and distribution of forms of legitimacy and of resources that have implications for drone proliferation both within and outside Africa.  More specifically, the percep­tion of Africa as being in need of external drone… Read more »

The Humanitarian Quest for Accountability: Examining the role of UNHCR

The European refugee crisis has been a difficult experience for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). On the one hand, UNHCR has been criticized by civil society and the humanitarian community for not being present on Greek islands. On the other hand, the organization has experienced difficulties in negotiating this access with Greek… Read more »