Adelicia Fairbanks - September 20, 2018
An aid worker’s security is influenced by who they are, where they are, and their role and organisation. A failure to account for how diversity in personal profiles impacts an individual’s security places not only the affected aid worker at risk, but also threatens their employing organisation.  Despite this diversity in risk, recent research by the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) on diversity and security risk management has found that decision-makers in aid organisations fear making security decisions that could be perceived as discriminatory towards a particular personal profile. This is especially the case for staff with minority profiles, e.g., individuals who identify as LGBTQI, living with a disability, or of minority ethnicities, as their concerns and needs may not be understood or addressed by decision- more...
Tom Westcott/IRIN
Abdulrazzaq al-Saiedi - August 10, 2018

This guest blog comes to us from Abdulrazzaq (Razzaq) al-Saiedi. The original version appeared on the Physicians for Human Rights blog.

ISIS has been defeated and the organizational structure of its so-called Islamic State has collapsed, liberating almost all its occupied territories. However, the tragedy for the people of the religious Yazidi minority continues. More than 3,000 Yazidis, mostly women and children, remain in ISIS captivity, while most of the Yazidi population still lives in Internally Displaced Persons camps, unable to return to their homes. The Yazidis have not seen a single tangible step toward justice and remedy.

On this date, August 3, four years ago, ISIS launched an attack on the Sinjar area, about 75 miles west of Mosul, where most of the Yazidis have lived for at least a thousand years. The more...

 Holly Young/IRIN
Eliza Campbell & Stanislava Topouzova - June 6, 2018

This guest blog comes to us from Eliza Campbell and Stanislava Topouzova. Stanislava Topouzova is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, and has worked at the International Migration Institute, the Refugee Studies Centre, the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, and most recently, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development. Eliza Campbell is a current Fulbright researcher based in Bulgaria and an MA candidate in Arab Studies at Georgetown University, and has worked with the UNHCR, UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee.

Since 2016, Europe has continued to face an unprecedented influx of unaccompanied minors seeking legal protection within its borders. In 2016 alone, 63,300 unaccompanied and separated children applied for international legal protection in the more...

Jodi Hilton/IRIN
Martin Searle - May 30, 2018

This guest blog comes to us from Martin Searle. Martin is Associate Research Fellow with the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief programme, Non-Traditional Security Centre at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore. He has several years of experience working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). His most recent publications are “Is Use of Cyber-Based Technology in Humanitarian Operations Reducing Humanitarian Independence?” and “Humanitarian Technology: New Innovations, Familiar Challenges, and Difficult Balances”.

Critical questions regarding the use of new technologies in humanitarian emergencies often invoke the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, and the additional principle of “do no harm.” These arose more...

 Toolkit: Responding to Violence against Humanitarian Action on the Policy Level
Julia Brooks - May 29, 2018

Violence against humanitarian actors and operations remains an unfortunate reality in many of today’s conflict zones. Just this year, the Aid Worker Security Database documented major incidents resulting in the deaths of aid workers – nearly all national staff – in emergency settings across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

In January, four employees of Save the Children, were killed when gunmen stormed their compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In February, six aid workers, were killed while traveling in a remote part of the Central African Republic (CAR) to train community educators; two aid workers were killed and one abducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) while supporting water and sanitation projects in North Kivu. In March, three aid workers were killed and 1 abducted in northeast Nigeria while more...

Lina Biscaia - April 13, 2018

This guest blog comes to us from Lina Biscaia, a former analyst with the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. It originally appeared on the blog INTLAWGRRLS.

Last month marked the seventh anniversary of the Syrian uprising. The Syrian people were late in joining the Arab Spring and within months after they did civil unrest descended into war. As the years go by, the range of atrocities committed in Syria appears to defy those covered by international law. There are arbitrary arrests, torture and deaths in detention, and use of civilians as hostages. The most reported incidents are use of chemical and explosive weapons in civilian areas, starvation of besieged populations and the targeting of hospitals, schools and markets to force surrender.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in comparison the use of sexual and gender more...

Ring Road around Jalalabad © Peretz Partensky / Creative Commons
Julia Brooks - January 26, 2018

Earlier this week, at least 7 people were killed and 31 injured in a devastating and targeted attack on Save the Children’s office in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. A local affiliate of the so-called Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, in which a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the compound’s gate, and then gunmen stormed the premises. 

In a statement released while the attack was still ongoing, Save the Children confirmed the incident and announced the temporary suspension of their activities in the country. Later in the day, the UK-based organization condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms”, asserting that, “Attacks against aid workers must never be tolerated and have a direct impact on the children we work to protect.” As the organization was quick to point out, “Save more...

András D Hajdú/IRIN
Joysheel Shrivastava - January 2, 2018

This guest blog comes from Joysheel Shrivastava. Joysheel is a 4th year B.B.A LLB Student at O. P. Jindal Global Law School in India, where she is pursuing her law degree. She has a keen interest in international law, with a special focus on international humanitarian law and conflict studies.

With armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and elsewhere, the international community is observing the highest levels of displacement since World War II. Today, 65.6 million people are displaced from their homes, meaning that one in every 122 people worldwide is either a refugee, an asylum seeker, or internally displaced person (IDP). Every minute, 24 people are displaced. Moreover, more than half of the total number of displaced people are children under the age of more...

Rodrigo Rodrich/Practial Action
Tilly Alcayna - December 18, 2017

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

In an era of seemingly ceaseless tragedies, it can be hard to stay on top of the news. This week, six wildfires have burned up over 141,000 acres in California – an area larger than the cities of New York and Boston combined – killing two people.

A few weeks prior, the headlines were on Iran’s deadly earthquake. Before that, it was the Rohingya refugee crisis.

You may have managed to take in all that information. But do you know about the November plague outbreak in Madagascar that has infected 2,119 people and killed 171? What about flooding in South Asia a few months back, which affected more than 41 million people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal?

If it’s all new to you, you’re hardly alone. According to the more...

Rob Grace - November 20, 2017

What is essential for humanitarian practitioners to know about the relevance of the art of negotiation to their work? This blog post answers this question, drawing from the findings of a study that I conducted as part of ATHA’s ongoing research on humanitarian negotiation. This research project entailed 53 interviews conducted with humanitarian professionals working in a wide array of contexts across the globe, including armed conflicts, natural disasters, health emergencies, and urban development settings. As this research has shown, humanitarian negotiation is a complex process yielding a multitude of vexing challenges and dilemmas. I highlight five key issues below.

1. Negotiation is a key aspect of humanitarian action.

In the words of one humanitarian practitioner interviewed more...

Valerie Dobiesz & Julia Brooks - October 25, 2017

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The recent exposure of widespread sexual predation in the American media industry, from Harvey Weinstein to Bill O'Reilly, has elicited shock and sparked debate on violence against women in the United States.

Sexual harassment isn’t the exclusive domain of show biz big shots. It remains alarmingly prevalent nationwide, even as other crimes are generally decreasing nationwide.

In the U.S., a 2006 study found that 27 percent of college women reported some form of forced sexual contact – ranging from kissing to anal intercourse – after enrolling in school. This sexual violence is heavily underreported, with just 20 percent of female student victims reporting the crime to law enforcement.

Nor is sexual harassment more...

Julia Brooks & David Polatty - October 16, 2017

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.  

When humanitarian emergencies flare up, what should prompt the U.S. government to “send in the Marines”?

Disasters like Hurricane Harvey’s floods in Houston and Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico’s roads and power grid can quickly overwhelm civilian authorities and emergency responders. Military support can make a life-or-death difference in those emergencies.

As scholars at the U.S. Naval War College and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, we have seen that the military can have a profound and positive impact on the immediate response to large-scale disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria or the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

But soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators are more...

September 26, 2017

This guest blog comes from Kristin Bergtora Sandvik and Nathaniel A. Raymond. Kristin is a Research Professor in Humanitarian Studies at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and a professor of  Sociology of Law  at the University of Oslo. Nathaniel is the Director of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are now a standard part of the mass atrocity responder’s toolkit, being employed for evidence collection and research by NGOs, governments, and the private sector. One of the more notable justifications for their use has been to supplement or improve the protection of vulnerable populations. In a new article published in the Genocide Studies and Prevention Journal, we argue that there is little evidence for the more...

Omar Mekky - September 21, 2017

This guest blog comes to us from Omar Mekky. Omar is the Regional Legal Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and a Judge at the Egyptian Primary Courts (on leave). He is a PhD candidate in International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

In the early morning of 1 January 2015, I made my way to Sanaa airport to take a flight back to my hometown, Cairo, after a short mission in Yemen. While there, I met Mohamed Al-Hakmi, a colleague and a devoted International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) employee, a man who is most importantly remembered for his dedication to humanitarian work.

That cold Sanaa morning, Al-Hakmi, who was known for his pleasant personality, received me with his usual warm smile as we more...

Hari Krishna Nibanupudi - September 14, 2017

This guest blog comes to us from Hari Krishna Nibanupudi, a disaster resilience and climate change specialist at Safe Citizen International in Hyderabad, India. He has over two decades of experience in humanitarian work in Asia and Africa. He is an award winning Blogger and Short filmmaker on Issues of Climate Migration and Disaster Resilience and has published regularly on the subject in South Asia.

Recently, I was in Malawi to assess flood-affected communities. I noticed two young girls in a displaced perons camp who appeared to be suffering from not only disaster-related injuries but also acute mental illness. One stayed beside me throughout my interaction with the communities there. As we prepared to leave, she held my hand tightly and started crying loudly. As some members of the community took her away, a local told me more...


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