From international NGOs to UN agencies, from donors to observers of humanitarianism, opinion is unanimous: in a context of the alleged "clash of civilizations", our "humanitarian space" is shrinking. Put another way, the freedom of action and of speech of humanitarians is being eroded due to the radicalisation of conflicts and the reaffirmation of state sovereignty over aid actors and policies. The purpose of this book is to challenge this assumption through an analysis of the events that have marked MSF's history since 2003 (when MSF published its first general work on humanitarian action and its relationships with governments). It addresses the evolution of humanitarian goals, the resistance to these goals and the political arrangements that overcame this resistance (or that failed to do so). The contributors seek to analyse the political transactions and balances of power and interests that allow aid activities to move forward, but that are usually masked by the lofty rhetoric of "humanitarian principles". They focus on one key question: what is an acceptable compromise for MSF? This book seeks to puncture a number of the myths that have grown up over the forty years since MSF was founded and describes in detail how the ideals of humanitarian principles and "humanitarian space" operating in conflict zones are in reality illusory. How, in fact, it is the grubby negotiations with varying parties, each of whom have their own vested interests, that may allow organisations such as MSF to operate in a given crisis situation - or not.
Release on 2019-12-20 | by Ashley Jonathan Clements
The Frontlines of Diplomacy
Author: Ashley Jonathan Clements
Category: Political Science
Humanitarians operate on the frontlines of today’s armed conflicts, where they regularly negotiate to provide assistance and to protect vulnerable civilians. This book explores this unique and under-researched field of humanitarian negotiation. It details the challenges faced by humanitarians negotiating with armed groups in Yemen, Myanmar, and elsewhere, arguing that humanitarians typically negotiate from a position of weakness. It also explores some of the tactics and strategies they use to overcome this power asymmetry to reach more favorable agreements. The author applies these findings to broader negotiation scholarship and investigates the implications of this research for the field and practice of humanitarianism. This book also demonstrates how non-state actors – both humanitarians and armed groups – have become increasingly potent diplomatic actors. It challenges traditional state-centric approaches to diplomacy and argues that non-state actors constitute an increasingly crucial vector through which international relations are replicated and reconstituted during contemporary armed conflict. Only by accepting these changes to the nature of diplomacy itself can the causes, symptoms, and solutions to armed conflict be better managed. This book will be of interest to scholars concerned with conflict resolution, negotiation, and mediation, as well as to humanitarian practitioners themselves.
Release on 2019-08-06 | by Jack Knight,Melissa Schwartzberg
Author: Jack Knight,Melissa Schwartzberg
Pubpsher: NYU Press
Category: Political Science
Essays on the political, legal, and philosophical dimensions of political legitimacy Scholars, journalists, and politicians today worry that the world’s democracies are facing a crisis of legitimacy. Although there are key challenges facing democracy—including concerns about electoral interference, adherence to the rule of law, and the freedom of the press—it is not clear that these difficulties threaten political legitimacy. Such ambiguity derives in part from the contested nature of the concept of legitimacy, and from disagreements over how to measure it. This volume reflects the cutting edge of responses to these perennial questions, drawing, in the distinctive NOMOS fashion, from political science, philosophy, and law. Contributors address fundamental philosophical questions such as the nature of public reasons of authority, as well as urgent concerns about contemporary democracy, including whether “animus” matters for the legitimacy of President Trump’s travel ban, barring entry for nationals from six Muslim-majority nations, and the effect of fundamental transitions within the moral economy, such as the decline of labor unions. Featuring twelve essays from leading scholars, Political Legitimacy is an important and timely addition to the NOMOS series.
Release on 2014-11-13 | by Andrej Zwitter,Christopher K. Lamont,Hans-Joachim Heintze,Joost Herman
Author: Andrej Zwitter,Christopher K. Lamont,Hans-Joachim Heintze,Joost Herman
Pubpsher: Cambridge University Press
The laws governing humanitarian action stand at the intersection of several fields of international law, regional agreements, soft law, and domestic law. Through in-depth case studies and analysis, expert scholars and practitioners shed light on the subject, and make sense of the various elements involved.
Much like the large commercial companies, most humanitarian aid organizations now have departments specifically dedicated to protecting the security of their personnel and assets. The management of humanitarian security has gradually become the business of professionals who develop data collection systems, standardized procedures, norms, and training meant to prevent and manage risks. A large majority of aid agencies and security experts see these developments as inevitable - all the more so because of quantitative studies and media reports concluding that the dangers to which aid workers are today exposed are completely unprecedented. Yet, this trend towards professionalization is also raising questions within aid organizations, MSF included. Can insecurity be measured by scientific means and managed through norms and protocols? How does the professionalization of security affect the balance of power between field and headquarters, volunteers and the institution that employs them? What is its impact on the implementation of humanitarian organizations' social mission? Are there alternatives to the prevailing security model(s) derived from the corporate world? Building on MSF's experience and observations of the aid world by academics and practitioners, the authors of this book look at the drivers of the professionalization of humanitarian security and its impact on humanitarian practices, with a specific focus on Syria, CAR and kidnapping in the Caucasus.
A new investigation of the role of the modern soldier/diplomat and the nature of military negotiation, in comparison with negotiation in other key contexts. This new book presents a detailed analysis of the role of the military in current operations as negotiators and liaison workers in the field. It shows how very few in the academic world are writing on this specific role of the military and the nature of negotiation in this situation, and such a volatile context. This publication is a first in this context, and has a keen audience in light of the current world order. This study breaks new ground in analyzing the nature of military negotiation in relation to more generic forms of negotiation, and assessing the role of the modern soldier/diplomat in recent deployments around the world. The author is an academic working within the military environment, very few people have the same capacity and accessibility to firsthand evidence and observation. Whilst peacekeeping has grown in the last decade or so, no-one has successfully investigated the role of the military and their approach to non-violent conflict resolution on the ground as few have access to such work to make a viable detailed assessment of the nature of negotiation in a violent context, but Dr Goodwin is able to do so.
For decades, post-independence Africa has been marked by conflicts, violence, and civil wars leading to a displacement of civilian populations and numerous humanitarian crises. For example, the Somali war, the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and the Darfur conflict in Western Sudan illustrate this phenomenon. In these situations, protecting the basic human rights of security, subsistence, the liberties of social participation, and the physical movement of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)--particularly women, children, and young people--has been seen as inadequate. This book offers the following: a systematic presentation of the nature and scope of the crises; an evaluative description of the achievements and failures of governments, organizations, and the international community in responding to the crises; a critical analysis of the rationale for such an inadequate response; and a philosophical and theological study of basic human rights that seeks to redress these failures by envisioning an appropriate response and a lasting solution to the conflicts, displacement, and humanitarian crises in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The International Community and the Transition to Independence
Author: Aidan Hehir
This book examines international engagement with Kosovo since NATO’s intervention in 1999, and looks at the three distinct phases of Kosovo’s development; intervention, statebuilding and independence. Kosovo remains a case study of central importance in international relations, illustrative of key political trends in the post-Cold War era. During each phase, international policy towards Kosovo has challenged prevailing international norms and pushed the boundaries of conventional wisdom. In each of the three phases 'Kosovo' has been cited as constituting a precedent, and this book explores the impact and the often troubling consequences and implications of these precedents. This book explicitly engages with this debate, which transcends Kosovo itself, and provides a critical analysis of the catalysts and consequences of contemporary international engagement with this seminal case study. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of the international engagement with Kosovo and situates events there in an international context, highlighting the extent to which international policy towards Kosovo has challenged existing norms and practices. Kosovo has been cited in certain texts as a positive template to be emulated, but the contributors to this book also identify the often controversial and contentious nature of these new norms. This book will be of much interest to students of humanitarian intervention and statebuilding, war and conflict studies, security studies and IR in general. Aidan Hehir is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster.