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Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

Introduction But of all our contemporary illusions, the most dangerous … is the idea that we live in a time without precedent . Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century ( Judt, 2008 ) If some humanitarian-organisation spokespeople are to be believed, the norms and principles underpinning their action have been under attack since the end of the Cold War, which is endangering both humanitarian teams and the operations they conduct

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

responsiveness among humanitarian agencies, and the value of seeking knowledge from outside the traditional parameters of humanitarian studies. The main body of the article outlines the aims and implementation of the project and puts forward four principles on which a workable model of reflective practice might be developed. Our objective is not to establish a single transferable framework for historical reflection. Rather, we hope to open a conversation about the ways in which the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editors’ Introduction

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 fix was

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

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, challenging the idea of humanitarian exceptionalism and the protective function of IHL and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

humanitarian project that is centrally defined both by the idea of equality and by the idea of charity for distant others ( Fassin, 2012 ; Harrell-Bond, 2002 ). The article focuses on the work of the larger Western-based and civilian humanitarian actors – including UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations that are guided by the principles of humanity and impartiality. Such actors are not homogenous, and staff-security and civilian-protection practices vary

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

, provided particularly American inspiration for the post-war development of liberal global governance. 1 But the principles of great-power trusteeship and balancing, reflected in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals in 1944, were decisive in the creation of the United Nations. 2 Despite the early proliferation of liberal institutions under the aegis of the UN, Cold War prerogatives undermined cosmopolitan aspirations for world government. Cancelling each other out in the Security Council, the US and the Soviet Union prioritised bilateral negotiations. UN

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Four Decisive Challenges Confronting Humanitarian Innovation

.innovation.unhcr.org/10-funding-resources-for-humanitarian-innovators-2 (accessed 20 October 2016) . UNHCR ( 2017 ), Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016 , www.unhcr.org/5943e8a34.pdf (accessed 2 June 2017) . UNICEF ( 2016 ), Principles for Innovation and Technology in Development , www.unicef.org/innovation/innovation_73239.html (accessed 25 October 2016) . UNICEF ( 2017

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

products and processes are being developed and rolled out in humanitarian contexts. Ethical attention is also required throughout their development and deployment to ensure that innovations support the ethical commitments of involved stakeholders, including humanitarian principles. Ethical humanitarian action requires responsiveness to the linguistic mediation of relationships and information sharing, and the potential for injustices linked to language. Notes 1 This research

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

nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress’ ( ICRC, 2016 ). Other humanitarian codes of conduct contain similar principles. Discrimination in humanitarianism is restricted to triage – where the most effective intervention can be made on the basis solely of need. Humanitarians might, of course, be less than assiduously moral in treating those whose lives they are supposed to be saving

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

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 the biggest impact of what you do. I think that is where innovation needs to happen

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs