Challenging the idea that humanitarian actors can act free from politics by virtue of their principles, this chapter argues that the politicization of humanitarian aid is in fact the primary condition for its deployment. Humanitarian actors can only act if they maintain a balance between their own interests and those of people in positions of power. This raises a crucial ethical question: At what point do humanitarian organisations consider that deals reached with political powers cross the blurred but very real line beyond which humanitarian assistance does more harm than good?
Former president of the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières and current director of studies at the MSF Foundation’s Centre de réflexion sur l’action et les savoirs humanitaires (CRASH), Dr Rony Brauman, explains the difficulties involved in obtaining reliable figures on the human costs of natural disasters.
In "Saving Lives and Staying Alive: Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" Michaël Neuman and his colleague Fabrice Weissman analyze some of the drivers of professionalization in the context of humanitarian security and its subsequent impact on humanitarian practices through a collection of MSF case studies.
Michaël Neuman warns that misleading data are suggesting humanitarian aid work has become more dangerous, taking particular aim at the Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD) for helping perpetuate this myth.
We welcome Abby Stoddard, Katherine Haver and Adele Harmer's response to our critical article on the production and the use of security data in the humanitarian sector and to our book in general. In a field that has been very much lacking debate, if not controversies, we're extremely glad to see a various range of readers engaging in the discussion.
Michaël Neuman, co-editor of "Saving Lives and Staying Alive. Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management" responds to Chris Lockyear and Andrew Cunningham's review of the book.
Andrew Cunningham, currently an independent humanitarian researcher and analyst and Chris Lockyear, the Director of Operations for ACF USA and a former Operations Manager for MSF Operational Center Amsterdam (MSF-OCA), have sent the following response to "Saving lives and Staying alive". Let the debate live!
Since the 1990s and the rise of conflicts in West Africa, Somalia, Chechnya, the former Yugoslavia and Africa's Great Lakes region, humanitarian organisations have been warning of greater insecurity for their staff. These observations are bolstered by surveys aimed at objectively quantifying violence against humanitarian workers.
This review of Larissa Fast's " 'Aid in Danger'. The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism" was published in the International Review of the Red Cross (Volume 96 / Issue 894)
When MSF nurse Chantal Kaghoma regained her freedom in August 2014 after being held hostage for thirteen months by rebel group ADF in the DRC, she said, “While I was in prison with all the other hostages, I had lost all faith in everyone"
Is there anything fundamentally new in the security challenges faced by humanitarian organisations? When looking at the history of humanitarian assistance, as far back as the late 1800s, 'medical care' was operating under fire.