Politics

You are looking at 101 - 110 of 485 items for :

  • Manchester International Relations x
  • All content x
Clear All
Fabrice Weissman

This article discusses the policy of absolute secrecy on abductions adopted by aid organisations. It argues that the information blackout on past and current cases is to a large extent a function of the growing role of private security companies in the aid sector, which promote a ‘pay, don’t say’ policy as a default option, whatever the situation. The article contends that secrecy is as much an impediment to resolving current cases as it is to preventing and managing future ones. It suggests abandoning the policy of strict confidentiality in all circumstances – a policy that is as dangerous as it is easy to apply – in favour of a more nuanced and challenging approach determining how much to publicise ongoing and past cases for each audience, always keeping in mind the interests of current and potential hostages.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction
Michaël Neuman, Fernando Espada, and Róisín Read
Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
Rony Brauman

The rehabilitation of international humanitarian law (IHL) has become a priority for those who think that the horrors of contemporary wars are largely due to the blurring of the distinction between civilians and combatants and for those who think that campaigning for the respect of IHL could result in more civilised wars. Similarly, respect for humanitarian principles is still seen by many as the best tool available to protect the safety of aid workers. In this text, I argue that both assumptions are misled. The distinction between civilians and combatants, a cornerstone of IHL, has been blurred in practice since the late nineteenth century. In addition, humanitarian agencies claiming to be ‘principled’ have been victims of attacks as much as others. History and current practice tell us that neither IHL nor humanitarian principles provide safety or can guide our decisions. Accepting their symbolic value, rather than their unrealised potential to protect and solve operational dilemmas, would free humanitarian agencies from endless speculations.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector
Kevin O’Sullivan and Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair

This article describes the results of a pilot project on using historical reflection as a tool for policy-making in the humanitarian sector. It begins by establishing the rationale for integrating reflection into humanitarian practice. It then looks at the growing interest in humanitarian history among practitioners and academics over the past decade and sets out the arguments for why a more formalised discussion about humanitarianism’s past could result in a better understanding of the contemporary aid environment. The main body of the article focuses on our efforts to translate that potential into practice, through a reflective workshop on Somalia since the 1990s, held at National University of Ireland, Galway, in June 2017. Drawing on our experience of that event, the article puts forward four principles on which a workable model of reflective practice might be developed: the importance of the workshop setting, how to organise the reflective process, the value of pursuing a single case study and the careful management of expectations and outcomes. This article is not intended to be prescriptive, however. Rather, our aim is to put forward some practical suggestions and to open a conversation about how a model of historical reflection for aid practitioners might be developed.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Focus on Community Engagement
Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez, and Sylvain Landry B. Faye

Community engagement is commonly regarded as a crucial entry point for gaining access and securing trust during humanitarian emergencies. In this article, we present three case studies of community engagement encounters during the West African Ebola outbreak. They represent strategies commonly implemented by the humanitarian response to the epidemic: communication through comités de veille villageois in Guinea, engagement with NGO-affiliated community leadership structures in Liberia and indirect mediation to chiefs in Sierra Leone. These case studies are based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out before, during and after the outbreak by five anthropologists involved in the response to Ebola in diverse capacities. Our goal is to represent and conceptualise the Ebola response as a dynamic interaction between a response apparatus, local populations and intermediaries, with uncertain outcomes that were negotiated over time and in response to changing conditions. Our findings show that community engagement tactics that are based on fixed notions of legitimacy are unable to respond to the fluidity of community response environments during emergencies.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War
Xavier Crombé and Joanna Kuper

This article seeks to document and analyse violence affecting the provision of healthcare by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its intended beneficiaries in the early stage of the current civil war in South Sudan. Most NGO accounts and quantitative studies of violent attacks on healthcare tend to limit interpretation of their prime motives to the violation of international norms and deprivation of access to health services. Instead, we provide a detailed narrative, which contextualises violent incidents affecting healthcare, with regard for the dynamics of conflict in South Sudan as well as MSF’s operational decisions, and which combines and contrasts institutional and academic sources with direct testimonies from local MSF personnel and other residents. This approach offers greater insight not only into the circumstances and logics of violence but also into the concrete ways in which healthcare practices adapt in the face of attacks and how these may reveal and put to the test the reciprocal expectations binding international and local health practitioners in crisis situations.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Miguel Otero-Iglesias

The EU is the biggest trade bloc in the world, but its presence is less palpable in the Asia-Pacific, which is currently the most dynamic global region. The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement has only increased this perception. The EU has no free trade agreement with China, India, Japan, Australia or New Zealand. This chapter first examines the EU’s economic and trade presence and policies in the region and then assesses whether the EU is under-represented. If so, we will attempt to explain why, but if this is not the case, and the EU has a greater presence than first thought, the second part will attempt to explain why this is the generally accepted view. Methodologically, the starting hypothesis is that the EU has neglected the Asia-Pacific region for several primary reasons: overly focusing on the Atlantic, the distance, cultural differences, an overemphasis on China, a lack of strategic presence and vision, and internal problems.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Inter-regionalism in a new era
Julie Gilson

The idea of a return to Asia reflected the growing economic and strategic influence of the Asia Pacific region, particularly in the light of the failure of Western markets and the continuing rise of Chinese economic power. Europe too has begun to reconsider the state of its relations with East Asia. This view has gained a high level of support from European Asia-watchers and politicians, not least the EU High Representative herself. In the 1990s, the EU launched a ‘new strategy’ towards the East Asian region, and participated in the establishment of the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 1996. This chapter examines this apparently renewed European approach to Asia, within the context of inter-regional relations through the ASEM framework, and as a European tool for the collective management of external relations with Asia. It is argued that weak institutional structures combine with a rise in the number of bilateral agreements and contentious intra-regional dynamics within Asia and Europe, thereby diluting the effect of any EU pivot. Inter-regionalism should thus be regarded as an issue and process-led form of managing foreign policy, rather than a general narrative for understanding relations among regions today.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Nicole Scicluna

The ties that bind Australia and New Zealand to the nations of Europe are many and varied, but what does the European Union mean to Australia and New Zealand? More importantly for the purposes of this volume: what do Australia and New Zealand mean to the EU? These questions are difficult to answer. Relations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand have been marked not only by deep cultural commonalities and shared policy concerns but also by policy differences, asymmetry (given the huge discrepancies in market size) and even, at times, indifference. The rapid development of the Asia-Pacific, particularly China, adds another dimension to the EU’s economic and strategic engagement with these outposts of ‘the West’.

This chapter thus aims to clarify the EU’s relations with Australia and New Zealand, highlighting the main points of both commonality and contention. The focus is on specific key policy areas, including agricultural subsidies, climate change, regional security and human rights. The picture that will emerge is of a relationship that is strong but not unproblematic; historically rooted and of great contemporary resonance.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific
Strategic reflections
Michael Reiterer

While the EU maintains strategic partnerships with several Asian countries, there are doubts in Asia over whether it can be a genuine strategic partner. The perceptions may not match – the EU has over the years developed numerous policies and initiatives on the region. In doing so it has demonstrated its comprehensive interest in Asia, not only in terms of foreign policy but also in the dimensions of politics and security. However, the perceptions of the two sides are mutual yet. In light of the new 2016 EU global strategy, this chapter explores the consequences it may have on the EU’s strategic approach to Asia in general, and its strategic partnership diplomacy in particular. In Asia, where profound changes are occurring, investing in regional security and strengthening global governance will be essential features of this policy.

in The European Union in the Asia-Pacific