Category: Humanitarianism

Merkel Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Odds on who’s going to win the Nobel Peace Prize, to be awarded on Friday, are so hard to make that one could easily arbitrage various bookmakers. I’m not a betting man, but I hope the prize goes to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She’s the favorite now, with average odds of about 6-1, and she deserves to… Read more »

Practical Compassion in the Age of Crisis

The news from last week was bleak. Fleeing violence and chaos in the Middle East, horrific accounts detailed the tragic fates of countless people seeking refuge in Europe. Thousands have perished along the way, and many survivors have found themselves in dangerous conditions upon arrival in Europe. Some state reactions have been appallingly inhumane, and… Read more »

Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter

The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and others have examined the usage of ‘refugees’ versus ‘migrants’ over the past week. The general impression is that ‘migrants’ are being… Read more »

Lethal Autonomous Weapons: Killing the ‘Robots-don’t-Rape’ Argument

Earlier this spring, we debated a law professor who insisted that lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) could clean up war. The professor posited that a war fought with autonomous weapons would be a war without rape. Taking humans out of the loop would, the argument goes, lead to more humane war. We find this narrative, where… Read more »

From IDPs to Victims in Colombia: Transition from Humanitarian Crisis through Law Reform?

What are the challenges of responding to displacement as a problem of transitional justice? In the Colombian context, pervasive violent conflict coexists with constitutional democracy. In recent years, the legal framework for dealing with internal displacement has been altered by the 2011 Victims’ Law. Based on newly published work on Colombia, this blog post discusses… Read more »

A Close Look at Border Security in the Mediterranean

The EU’s response to the increased flow of refugees crossing the Mediterranean has been to boost border security by means of Operation Triton, which is the responsibility of Frontex, the EU border agency. There is little one can do, however, to impose effective border controls at sea. Operation Triton does not have a search-and-rescue mandate,… Read more »

What Would Have Been New about Bombing Migrant Boats?

The European Union has made it clear that bombs were not part of the plan for war against people smuggling after all. “No one is thinking of bombing,” said Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, yesterday. The alleged plans for bombing had already caused widespread alarm and protest. But what would have been new about bombing… Read more »

Humanitarianism and Return

Humanitarianism and Return: Compromising Protection In many contexts around the world, states use funding for humanitarian programming as an active part of their attempts to manage populations displaced by conflict. Humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced is commonly understood as a temporary activity that ends when people will return home. Yet returnees can often… Read more »

Earthquake in Nepal and we are Safe

Peace researchers often have the opportunity to witness the ‘real world’ of conflict and post-conflict during fieldwork in countries such as Nepal. In some cases we also cooperate with local institutions where we benefit from working with fellow peace researchers and other partners. In Nepal we have had the great pleasure of working with Dr…. Read more »

Beyond Sexual Violence: Gendered Political Insecurity as a Threat to Peace

Based on extensive field research in Colombia, our new article “Beyond Sexual Violence in Transitional Justice: Political Insecurity as a Gendered Harm” examines political insecurity as a specifically gendered harm that must be addressed in the ongoing Colombian transitional justice process.