Category: Humanitarianism

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.

Emergency Exit for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

The tragedy in Syria bears witness to the deep crisis afflicting the international commitment to the “protection of civilians”. But there is a way out. Against the background of a politically divided Security Council, there is a need for a new international strategy to protect civilians caught up in armed conflicts. The international system for… Read more »

Evaluating Ebola: the Politics of the Military Response Narrative

While the humanitarian community is still struggling to help end the Ebola epidemic, talk about lessons learned and the need for critical evaluations have been on the way for some time already. Here, I suggest that humanitarians must pay keen attention to the post-Ebola narrative of military victory that is currently emerging. To see the… Read more »

Conundrums in the Embrace of the Private Sector

The humanitarian sector faces an unprecedented number of crises globally. The growing operational and financial deficit in the capacity of governments and humanitarian organizations to respond has led to calls for changes in the way such crises are understood and managed. This involves a strong focus on cooperation and partnerships with the private sector. A… Read more »