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Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

eclipsed the original meaning of the concept – that is, the signatories’ commitment to respect medical facilities in the first Geneva Convention, Article 1 of which states that ‘Ambulances 2 and military hospitals shall be recognized as neutral, and as such, protected and respected by the belligerents as long as they accommodate wounded and sick’. From that perspective, neutrality is a principle of restraint that should apply to the belligerents, not humanitarian organisations. We might add, if only to better appreciate how far we have come from that first Convention

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

role, particularly through the Clinton Foundation. Bill Clinton was like a viceroy. Imagine! He was the husband of the US Secretary of State, he was a former president and he had been named as the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy to Haiti. He had immense power. This reduced the role of Brazil somewhat, too. I think we did the right thing in Haiti overall. It isn’t possible to resolve Haiti’s problems right now. I was appointed by the OAS [Organisation of American States,] as the head of the election-observer mission for Haiti [2015]. I spoke with

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

his organisation’s experience: In the Mediterranean our search and rescue operations have been falsely accused of colluding with traffickers. It started as a report in the Italian media and then Defend Europe, the far-right group, hired their own boat to try and stop what we were doing. Breitbart released a video which purported to prove our collusion with traffickers but showed nothing of the kind. We had to fight this propaganda without many resources… (cited in ibid .: 8) These allegations suck up valuable resources, not least by requiring

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

ICRC is really the first human rights organisation ( Hopgood, 2013 : chap. 2). We can point to different emphases – the law versus medicine, justice and accountability versus crisis and need – but common to both these strategies for normative action is a commitment to the physical and mental integrity, the existential moral dignity, of all human beings whoever they are and whatever they have done. This is distinctively modern, and liberal, and still something of a heresy in many Western societies let alone beyond. It is only if one shares this

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

mobility significantly impact the development of institutional memory ( Korff et al. , 2015 ). This, in turn, leads to an overemphasis on contemporary events to guide reflection. As John Borton put it, ‘such is the degree of ahistoricism within much of the sector that initiatives aimed at fostering improved practice tend to only reference recent practice’ ( Borton, 2016 : 195). History’s second contribution is to disrupt the often repeated – and far too uncritically consumed – trope of ‘progress’ in the aid sector. Historians’ suspicion of linear narratives, insistence

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

speak, by the 1990s a ‘post-social’ economy was consolidating in the global North. While marked differences remain, the North and South have drawn together around the economic logic of precarity. In the latter, fuelled by jobless growth, for several decades a self-reproducing informal sector has been by far the largest employer and supplier of goods and services ( Meagher, 2016 ). For the North, precarity has taken the form of the disappearance of ‘good’ jobs as the casualisation of work has increased. This includes the growth of insecure

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
From the Global to the Local

-approved ‘reforms’. 3 This ‘catastrophic’ decision ( AFP, 2018 ) was widely denounced around the world as a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people ( Bachner, 2018 ; Dumper, 2018 ). By the end of August 2018, when the US Government announced its decision to completely defund UNRWA, commentators identified this as part of a strategy to force Palestinian refugees to rescind the Right of Return to Palestine (a right set out in UNGA Resolution 194). 4 Many noted that undermining the Agency’s capacity to deliver relief and services

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

national interests ( ibid .: 25–6): 1) Russia and China, the two great ‘revisionist powers’; 2) North Korea and Iran, two ‘rogue states’ that undermine geopolitical equilibrium in Northeast Asia and the Middle East; 3) ‘Jihadist terrorist groups’ and international criminal organisations that propagate violence and traffic drugs and arms. The document offers an extensive list of actions to be undertaken by the US to achieve strategic objectives and confront rivals, from controlling borders to increasing military expenditure and protecting competitive

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Passion and politics in the English Defence League

‘Loud and proud’: Politics and passion in the English Defence League is a study of grassroots activism in what is widely considered to be a violent Islamophobic and racist organisation.

The book uses interviews, informal conversations and extended observation at EDL events to critically reflect on the gap between the movement’s public image and activists’ own understandings of it. It details how activists construct the EDL, and themselves, as ‘not racist, not violent, just no longer silent’ inter alia through the exclusion of Muslims as a possible object of racism on the grounds that they are a religiously not racially defined group. In contrast activists perceive themselves to be ‘second-class citizens’, disadvantaged and discriminated by a ‘two-tier’ justice system that privileges the rights of ‘others’. This failure to recognise themselves as a privileged white majority explains why ostensibly intimidating EDL street demonstrations marked by racist chanting and nationalistic flag waving are understood by activists as standing ‘loud and proud’; the only way of ‘being heard’ in a political system governed by a politics of silencing.

Unlike most studies of ‘far right’ movements, this book focuses not on the EDL as an organisation – its origins, ideology, strategic repertoire and effectiveness – but on the individuals who constitute the movement. Its ethnographic approach challenges stereotypes and allows insight into the emotional as well as political dimension of activism. At the same time, the book recognises and discusses the complex political and ethical issues of conducting close-up social research with ‘distasteful’ groups.

Open Access (free)
Transgressing the cordon sanitaire: understanding the English Defence League as a social movement

introductory chapter sets out an approach to understanding activism in the English Defence League (EDL) from within social movement studies. It places the EDL alongside populist radical right rather than classic ‘far right’ movements on the political spectrum and outlines a provisional rationale for characterising it as an anti-Islamist movement. Prefacing the theoretical discussion in subsequent chapters of the book, it contextualises claims by the EDL that the organisation is ‘not racist’ but ‘against militant Islam’ within contemporary theories of ‘race’ and racism and in

in Loud and proud