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Week 11 Politics of international aid S1 2012 Politics of humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid. “humanitarian aid is aid or action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies”. Humanitarian aid vs development aid .
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Politics of international aid S1 2012
Politics of humanitarian aid
“humanitarian aid is aid or action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies”
Development aid – planned, long term, aiming for structural change, targeted (mostly) to poorer countries
Humanitarian aid – reactive, incidental and short-term, aiming for remediation and relief, targeted to any countryexperiencing
Historic - Relief of human suffering or need
Evolving - Transformation of the structural conditions that cause or contribute to human suffering, through (for example)
Have come to be considered as ‘core principles’; and create ‘humanitarian space’
Some humanitarian organisations and workers insist the core principles are sacrosanct for humanitarian aid – aid should be apolitical, in particular to guard the ‘humanitarian space’.
This is traditional ICRC stance – all politics and political influence as anathema. HR, democracy promotion, peacebuilding – all are political activities because they propose to treat the cause not just alleviate symptoms
Others believe that
Differences– but both occur in a political context and have political drivers and political consequences.
Political influences can come from the local context, or be far removed from the immediate situation but still exert a strong influence on the delivery of aid
Political influences and consequences
War in Afghanistan and concerns about compromised security and increased influence of Islamists - need to keep Pakistan military government as an ally during humanitarian activities
International resources and agencies “fed into existing political fault lines”, and unwittingly contributed not to a community development approach to disaster recovery in Pakistan, but to processes that continued to inhibit secular democracy, inclusiveness, equality and human rights.
Tom Bamforth, (2007)
Political Complexities of Humanitarian Intervention in the Pakistan Earthquake. Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, January 16.
Humanitarian organisations have power and authority
- resources; information; expertise and moral standing; ambitions; relationship to global structures
Humanitarianism based on ‘charity’ (vs rights based approach)
Who’s interests and priorities are primary? – increasingly strategic use of humanitarian assistance
What power and influence does the recipient have? Most aid agencies act without much input from the peoplewho are supposed to benefit from their intervention – issues of power, dignity, capacity, and agency.
Background to darfur – sets political context http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USLDoIiFzzg&feature=related
Australian military in development http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxQPfGq_olo
Dafur slideshow http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/analysis/details/2004-07-06/commentary/
Dafur aid to mountain displaced camp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l30tSdwFWK8&feature=relmfu