The Smith College Relief Unit, Near East Relief and visions of Armenian reconstruction, 1919–21
, Florence Snow, Helen Thayer and Helen Whitman.
5 See A. D. Krikorian and E. L. Taylor’s data compilation and analysis, ‘Ninety-six Years Ago Today’, Armenian News Network , 16 February 2015, www.groong.org/orig/ak-20150216.html (accessed 20 March 2020).
6 B. Little, ‘An Explosion of New Endeavours: Global Humanitarian Responses to Industrialized Warfare in the First World War Era’, First World War Studies 5:1 (2014), 1–16.
7 For example, special issue of First World War Studies 5:1 (2014); D. Rodogno, ‘Non-state Actors’ HumanitarianOperations in the
Displacement and the humanitarian response to suffering: reflections on aiding Armenia
-state Actors’ HumanitarianOperations in the Aftermath of the First World War: The Case of the Near East Relief’, in F. Klose (ed.), The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas and Practice from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 185–207.
12 A good starting point is B. Taithe and J. Borton, ‘History, Memory and “Lessons Learnt” for Humanitarian Pactitioners’, European Review of History , 23:1–2 (2016), 210–24.
modern, technical, transnational and secular endeavour. 28 Along similar lines, Keith Watenpaugh has argued for the exceptionality of Western humanitarian interventions on behalf of post-genocide Armenians in the Middle East, stressing the extent to which a process of transformation in humanitarian practices took place. 29 Both Cabanes’ and Watenpaugh’s arguments claim a significant shift from wartime to post-war humanitarianoperations. However, such an emphasis on this period as a ‘break’ tend to obscure significant elements of continuity in practices and agents
Russian imperial responses to Armenian refugees of war and genocide, 1914–15
of Tiflis, was to coordinate the work of the committee.
This organisation was responsible for collection of donations, transportation of the refugees from the frontline to the interior, establishment of food stations on routes of mass population movement, and sanitary-medical assistance to the displaced and the refugees (particularly prevention of epidemics during humanitarianoperations). 54 The Caucasus Committee opened food and tea stations, as well as medical stations on the Igdir–Etchmiadzin–Erivan–Yelenovka–Dilijan–Aghstev route for refugees coming from
Orphans, refugees and Norwegian relief in the Soviet Armenian Republic, 1922–25
Inger Marie Okkenhaug
worked alongside NER in the Armenian Republic. These included a Norwegian orphanage, established and run by the nurse, midwife and missionary Bodil Biørn. Biørn, who had arrived in Anatolia in 1905 in the employ of the German Deutscher Hülfbund’s Mission, established an orphanage in Alexandropol (Leninakan/Gyumri) in the north-western part of Armenia in 1922. 4 Norwegian relief was small and unassuming compared to NER’s humanitarianoperation, and it was financed by private funds from Norwegian women. Even so, it aimed for modern, international standards, and for
refugees’ fears of the RPF were largely unfounded and
called for international action to encourage their return.
In terms of news reporting, the picture was less
clear-cut, in that some reports did include calls for a greater
international humanitarianoperation in the refugee centres outside
Rwanda. Six articles in July 1994 featured explicit calls for military
intervention in support of the aid effort, but
found in the formal creation of the ESDP in 1999
(a development inspired partly by reactions to perceived European
over-dependence on the US during the Kosovo conflict). Once the member
states had declared that the EU was prepared to take on certain military
tasks (largely relating to peace-keeping and humanitarianoperations)
and identified force goals, a process was set in motion whereby it
mechanisms (such as
Civil–Military Operations Centers, HumanitarianOperations
Centers and similar bodies) and, sometimes, joint assistance
projects such as distribution of relief commodities and
reconstruction of social service infrastructure including schools
and health posts. There are many sources that try to identify and
address issues and conceptual–contextual gaps in the
In late April 1993, a UN
Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit (UCAH) was set up in Luanda to
serve as the coordinating body for all humanitarianoperations. It was
to support the efforts of the operational UN agencies, while mobilising
increased participation by other organisations. Some 50 UN agencies and
NGOs conducted humanitarianoperations in Angola. To cite a few
reprisal’ to be
‘covered with the veneer of a humanitarianoperation’. The
Independent tried to square this circle in its 22 October
editorial, which maintained that ‘Dealing with the humanitarian
crisis is part of, not a diversion from, the campaign’, but
chiefly in that doing so would help in the ‘war for world
opinion’. The US should ‘attend to the refugee