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The Changing Faces of UNRWA

From the Global to the Local

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

Introduction With the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) having run a deficit almost since the start of its operations in 1950, the US’s decision – as UNRWA’s erstwhile primary funder – to cut its financial support for the Agency is having a significant impact both on UNRWA and over five million Palestinian refugees living across UNRWA’s five areas of operation in the Middle East: Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank. This article explores UNRWA’s responses to this dramatic cut in funding; more

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Series:

Toby Fricker

the rapid influx of people, the Jordanian government opened Za’atari refugee camp in late July 2012, with support from the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation, United Nations agencies and other partners. 3 In the harsh conditions of Jordan’s northern desert, Za’atari rapidly became a massive aid operation and at the same time the media face of not only the refugee crisis in Jordan but across the

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Rescue and Resistance in the Med

An Interview with Caroline Abu Sa’Da, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Suisse

Juliano Fiori

people crossing the Med. Caroline Abu Sa’Da is General Director of its Swiss branch. Juliano Fiori: SOS is very much a product of contemporary Europe. It’s a civic response to refugees and migrants in the Med but also to nationalistic politics, or to the return of nationalist movements to the forefront of European politics. How, then, does SOS differ from European humanitarian NGOs founded in past decades? Caroline Abu Sa’Da: SOS is a European citizen movement. Besides our search-and-rescue activities, we aim to give to the greatest number of

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Past Practice into Future Policy

A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

Kevin O’Sullivan and Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair

Introduction In October 2016 the New York Review of Books published an article by International Rescue Committee President David Miliband titled ‘The Best Ways to Deal with the Refugee Crisis’. It began with a predictable target. US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claims about a ‘tremendous flow’ of Syrian refugees making their way to North America were based in ‘myth, not fact’, Miliband wrote ( Miliband, 2016 ). Not only that: they also openly belittled the difficulties faced by those seeking refuge. Those remarks, of course, were hardly unusual

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All Lives Are Equal but Some Lives Are More Equal than Others

Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

Miriam Bradley

other civilians, but stopping short of comparing staff and other civilians. Larissa Fast, for example, laments the differential treatment accorded to refugees compared with the internally displaced, and to international staff compared with national staff, but says nothing of the differential treatment accorded to displaced persons on the one hand and staff on the other ( Fast, 2015 : 119, 127). The comparison in this article serves two purposes. First, comparing two phenomena helps us to better understand each phenomenon individually, and foregrounding the

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Post-Humanitarianism

Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

Mark Duffield

declined ( Mair, 2013 ). While NGOs lay claim to a ‘non-governmental’ status, direct action thrived when donor sovereignty was, paradoxically, still able to cast a shadow. Given the refugee crisis, few can today contemplate the wretched state of ‘official’ humanitarianism without some disquiet. Despite what we may wish or demand, however, it is unlikely that significant improvement will occur any time soon. But to then conclude that humanitarianism is dead would be a mistake. While autonomous international direct action lies buried in the rubble of

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Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa

Introduction All over the globe, fascism, racism and xenophobic nationalism are resurfacing in what we once thought of as ‘respectable’ democracies. Following a particularly bleak weekend at the end of October 2018 (the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, reports of worsening famine in Yemen, Israeli bombardment of Gaza and the murder of eleven worshippers at a refugee-harbouring synagogue in Pittsburgh), my colleague Dr Sara Salem of the London School of Economics tweeted: ‘It’s difficult watching political scientists scrambling to

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Juliano Fiori

‘liberal space’ and its likely consequences for humanitarian action; Mark Duffield, on ‘post-humanitarianism’ and the government of precarity; Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, on the impact on Palestinian refugees of US budget cuts under Donald Trump; José Luis Fiori, on the new security strategy of the US and the disavowal of liberal internationalism; David Rieff, on the legitimacy of humanitarian agencies in a changing political landscape; Mel Bunce, on

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When the Music Stops

Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

Stephen Hopgood

looming environmental disasters. Domestically, the liberal social contract is coming apart in many Western states as the coalition of those who have not benefited from the decades of wealth accumulation after 1979 turns to populist politicians and looks for scapegoats, with experts, immigrants and Muslims seen as prime targets. The commitment to liberal institutions that create limits to the scope of political competition – rights, the rule of law, freedom of the press – and to the basic level of respect due to all persons, be they citizens or refugees

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David Rieff

such strategically unwise. But the more important point is that it is no longer possible, if it ever was, to separate relief workers’ political convictions about what the EU should stand for from their ethical commitment to helping people in need, rescuing people in danger of losing their lives and helping refugees once they have arrived. The problem is that, however overstated, the claim of neutrality has always played an important role in establishing the legitimacy humanitarian action has enjoyed in Europe. In South Sudan in the 1990s, there