The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Julia Brooks and Rob Grace
, or other crises ( Dandoy and Pérouse de Montclos, 2013 ). It is clear that, regardless of whether humanitarian insecurity has actually statistically increased, security management as a policy issue will continue to play a significant role in the planning and implementation of humanitarianoperations.
The particular aim of this article is to probe how the humanitarian sector is pushing towards new frontiers in security management and to examine the policy fault lines likely to shape humanitarian organisations’ responses moving forward. This analysis draws
limited to operating in countries under Western tutelage, but even those inspired by
anti-communism were cautious about structural integration into Western security strategies. At
the beginning of the 1990s, NGOs shrugged off their scepticism for the morality of state power,
working more closely with Western military forces. Private and government funding for
humanitarianoperations increased. With the help of news media, humanitarian agencies boosted
their political capital, presenting themselves as providers of public moral conscience for the
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
staff, who since 2013 have been ‘partnered’ with a Congolese ‘assistant’, a guide relied upon for ‘local’ knowledge.
The ‘relational and interpretive’ labour of local aid workers often remains overlooked, or ‘invisible’, in aid implementation ( Peters, 2020 ). But the everyday processes of brokerage and translation ( Lewis and Mosse, 2006 ; Bierschenk et al. , 2000 ) conducted by local staff are central to understanding humanitarianoperations in conflict. To make sense of these dynamics, I draw upon the literature on intermediaries and brokers: missionaries
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian
Geneva : International Committee
of the Red Cross .
ICRC ( 2008 ),
‘ ICRC Protection Policy: Institutional
Policy ’, International Review of the Red
Cross , 90 : 871 ,
751 – 75 .
InterAction ( 2006 ),
Protection in Practice: A Guidebook for Incorporating Protection
HumanitarianOperations and Supply Chain Management (HOSCM). This body
of work, generally geared towards the development of practical solutions to
humanitarian logistical problems, has increasingly adopted mathematical models over
the past two decades. These have been used to understand the uncertainty surrounding
several key areas in supply and operations:
communication systems, infrastructure requirements, resource management, severity
and time of the
’ (para. 25, emphasis in original).
( 2019 , 11 June), ‘
Peering Beyond the DMZ: Understanding North Korea behind the Headlines ’ [video],
www.cato.org/events/peering-beyond-the-dmz (accessed 31 October 2019).
Cohen , R. ( 2018 ), ‘ Sanctions Hurt but Are Not the Main Impediment to HumanitarianOperations in North Korea ’, Asia Policy , 25 : 3 , 35 – 41 .
Darcy , J. , Stobaugh , H. , Walker , P. and Maxwell , D. ( 2013 ), The Use of Evidence in Humanitarian Decision Making: ACAPS Operational Learning
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe
element of that?
Marie-Luce: During the conflict, the Nigerian government was very
anxious to avoid any UN involvement, and the UN did not take initiatives to mediate
or intervene. And I think this is clearly linked with the difficulties faced by the
UN during the Congo crisis as nobody wanted them to mingle in another secessionist
crisis where postcolonial interests were at stake. Actually, this had strong
consequences on the humanitarianoperations, as the UN absence let
This is the story of a meeting between a humanitarianoperation and a conspiracy
theory, and what happened next. The operation was a search and rescue mission run on
the Mediterranean by many different non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including
Médecins Sans Frontières, 1 aiming to save the lives of migrants, refugees and asylum
seekers lost at sea. The conspiracy theory 2 was that this operation was the opposite of what it
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
The management of migration between care and control
The Italian navy and the compassionate repression
A similar integration of
humanitarian and security responses within a common ‘emergency frame’
can be explored through the representation strategies and discursive
practices enacted by the Italian navy since the launch of the operation
Mare Nostrum. 34 The
military-humanitarianoperation – targeted at both rescuing