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Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
Rony Brauman

. The humanitarian ideal was therefore ‘inaccessible to savage tribes that … follow their brute instincts without a second thought, while civilized nations … seek to humanize it’ ( Moynier, 1888 ). This goes to show that humanitarian principles, far from being a timeless good, are not immune to prevailing stereotypes or political power relationships. As a treaty aimed at an emblematic nineteenth-century battle was being signed, the conflicts and massacres of civil wars and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace

, in the contemporary policy discourse, the sense is prevalent that armed protection and humanitarian action are, as one influential policy document notes, ‘uneasy bedfellows’, given the possibility that such a posture can be incompatible with humanitarian principles, harm local perspectives of humanitarian organisations, logistically constrain flexibility, escalate tensions and bring forth ethical dilemmas surrounding paying for private security ( Humanitarian Practice Network, 2010 : 74). As these concerns indicate, the issues raised are not merely about principles

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editors’ Introduction
Tanja R. Müller and Gemma Sou

efficiency, terms arguably more expected in a business environment than the field of humanitarianism. This has resulted, maybe not so unexpectedly, in a state of affairs where the main focus of innovation in relation to humanitarian action has remained on technical fixes or the development of new products, rather than a broader conception that interrogates innovation in a more holistic way, related to overarching humanitarian principles, strategies and partnerships. This understanding of innovation as a

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
Myfanwy James

( Mathys, 2017 ). As Pottier (2006 : 151) describes, humanitarians could not ‘shed their ethnic identities: instead they accept that a perceived ethnic identity brings strategic advantages, as well as disadvantages’. In short, local staff had meaningful perceived identities, and in times of tension, advised their colleagues on how to take these identities into account for the organisation’s advantage – another micro-practice of translation. Luc, one experienced humanitarian, employed the following analogy: MSF already has the ‘lyrics’ – the humanitarian principles and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Róisín Read

showcase the potential for important research to emerge when academics and practitioners collaborate meaningfully. The feminist ethos at the heart of these collaborations showcases what more explicitly feminist approaches to humanitarian research and practice can offer. Ricardo Fal-Dutra Santos tackles this question explicitly, offering a thoughtful and insightful commentary on the compatibility of feminism and humanitarian principles. He questions the idea that gender equality as a goal runs counter

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Fernando Espada

humanitarian agency headquarters present humanitarian principles and acceptance as inherently linked. The everyday practice of humanitarian staff on the ground is more reflective of the inevitability of having to find acceptable compromises to stay safe. A Hegel-inspired synthesis of headquarters thesis and field office antithesis could offer a possible solution to the ever-present tension of how to manage security within humanitarian organisations. In another contribution to this issue, Logan Cochrane’s ‘Synthesis of Evaluations in South Sudan: Lessons Learned for

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Gender Equality and Culture in Humanitarian Action
Ricardo Fal-Dutra Santos

Introduction Despite increasing attention to gender issues in the humanitarian sector, the notion of gender equality as a humanitarian goal remains largely rejected. Some humanitarians argue that transforming gender relations goes against the humanitarian principles (see Fal-Dutra Santos, 2019 for a critique of this position). This is only part of the argument, which also emphasises the cultural nature of gender norms and the duty to respect

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction
Michaël Neuman, Fernando Espada, and Róisín Read

tasked her with defining those policies. She also warns of the contemporary trend to shift the use of risk management from enabling operations and facilitating access to populations to protecting the organisation from legal or reputational risks. All the contributions demonstrate that a reliance on international humanitarian law (IHL) and humanitarian principles to ensure the security of humanitarian teams and projects might well be unfounded. Rony Brauman offers his own historical perspective

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Planned Obsolescence of Medical Humanitarian Missions: An Interview with Tony Redmond, Professor and Practitioner of International Emergency Medicine and Co-founder of HCRI and UK-Med

focus on outcome. It is a philosophical approach: whether or not you should just do it or because it really needs to be done. The humanitarian principles are based largely on just do it ; whereas there is another way of looking at it, where you can say, ‘Well, but what about the outcome?’ Given that resources are limited, and will always be limited, no matter what situation you find yourself in, choices need to be made. So, you should look at the consequences and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Framework for Measuring Effectiveness in Humanitarian Response
Vincenzo Bollettino and Birthe Anders

militaries and humanitarian aid agencies can be beneficial for the timely delivery of aid. This engagement can take many different forms, from mere coexistence to communication, coordination and direct cooperation. It is also often unavoidable when trying to gain access to areas controlled by military or non-state armed actors. However, such engagement also comes with risks. Sometimes these are security risks, or risks to the humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality. Crucially, it is difficult to assess these risks and/or potential benefits in the absence of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs