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Lebanon, 1983. Ambulance damaged in cross-fire during fighting between Israeli and Palestinian forces. © ICRC / B. Hubschmid / lb-d-00078-18

The Protection of Humanitarian Aid Workers Under International Law

Thursday, July 30, 2015

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Given that aid workers frequently operate in complex and insecure settings, some risks are inherent to humanitarian action. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a significant increase, in absolute terms, in deliberate attacks against humanitarian professionals. Furthermore, most aid workers do not benefit from specific protection under international law. While aid agencies and workers take steps to protect themselves through negotiations and by building acceptance or taking protective and deterrent measures, significant gaps remain in their protection from targeted violence. National staff members are particularly vulnerable — more...

Colombia, checkpoint near Chuapal, San José del Guaviare. Security concerns must be balanced by humanitarian considerations in all situations. This means giving ambulances and other medical vehicles priority at checkpoints. © ICRC / C. von Toggenburg / V-P-CO-E-01140

Humanitarian Negotiation in Practice

Thursday, June 25, 2015

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A core tension persists in the humanitarian sector surrounding the role that negotiation plays in humanitarian action. On the one hand, many feel that humanitarians have nothing to negotiate, that humanitarian action is rooted in humanitarian principles - humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence - which are non-negotiable. On the other hand, a reality of humanitarian field operations is that negotiations are a crucial and perpetual component of gaining and maintaining access to affected populations, protecting the security of staff, and cooperating with local actors. As a result, humanitarian actors find themselves caught more...

Catatumbo is one of the few areas where coca production has increased  © Obinna Anyadike/IRIN

Humanitarian Action During Transition: Lessons from Colombia

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Over 50 years of internal armed conflict, along with urban violence, have fueled a persistent humanitarian crisis in Colombia. Approximately 12% of the population (5.7 million people) is internally displaced, and many people are dually affected by waves of intensifying conflict and natural disasters, such as flooding. Furthermore, organized crime, persistent human rights abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law in conflict-affected communities, including sexual and gender-based violence and the recruitment of child soldiers, have taken a heavy toll on the civilian population.

Peace efforts between the government more...

An image of the cleanup efforts underway in Nepal

Special Event - Nepal: The First Two Weeks

Friday, May 8, 2015

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In the 13 days since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015, the international community has witnessed the resulting death toll climb upwards of 7,300 people, with another 14,300 injured, in the midst of aftershocks up to magnitudes of 6.7. According to preliminary assessments, over 8 million people are currently affected in 39 out of Nepal’s 75 districts, and an estimated 2.8 million people are displaced. This past week has also seen a tremendous surge in the global response, including engagement from over 60 nations and growing, hundreds of relief organizations, online donations, private sector engagement, technological more...

Monitors from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine have been tasked to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both Ukrainian and anti-government forces.

The Role of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding in Civilian Protection

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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The past several decades have seen a dramatic proliferation of monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions mandated by governments and international organizations. In the recent session of the United Nations Human Rights Council alone, the Council discussed the most recent report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, an oral report from the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, as well as reports from special rapporteurs on Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, and the Palestinian territories. Additionally, MRF missions have been increasingly mandated at the regional level. In recent years, the African Union more...

Afghanistan © Ebadi/WFP

Civil-Military Coordination in Humanitarian Protection

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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Especially in complex humanitarian emergencies, effective civil-military coordination can be crucial to maintaining humanitarian access, protecting civilians, and managing the security of aid workers. After all, military forces often play a lead role in response to natural disasters or conflicts. Yet “civ-mil” coordination poses a number of challenges, particularly in terms of preserving the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian operations while operating alongside militaries.

This podcast will explore legal and operational challenges associated with civil-military engagement in Pakistan, which puts the more...

A Coca-Cola kiosk in Tanzania. In partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Coca-Cola has helped Tanzania's Ministry of Health improve its supply chain so that medicines can reach remote parts of the country, the way soft drinks do. Public-private partnerships are on the rise in development and humanitarian work  © Charlotte Nordahl/Flickr

Private Sector Engagement in Humanitarian Response

Thursday, February 19, 2015

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As humanitarian leaders united in Davos this year at the World Economic Forum, one message was clear: the humanitarian system is strained, and increased collaboration with the private sector is crucial for enhancing capacity to respond to the protracted, complex crises currently confronting the humanitarian sector.

The humanitarian and private sectors differ in many crucial aspects – mission, principles, procedures, among others  – but the private sector is already contributing to humanitarian operations in a variety of ways. Beyond the evolving field of corporate social responsibility (CSR), private businesses engage in more...

Bridging the Gaps: An Interview with Winnie Byanyima

Thursday, February 5, 2015

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In this episode, ATHA's Anaide Nahikian talks with Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International. They discuss the design and implemention of gender-responsive climate change policies, strategies, and programs, as well as the relationship between humanitarian actors and the private sector. 

More on Winnie Byanyima: Winnie is a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building. She served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament, and has served at the African Union Commission and as Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Program. She co-founded the 60-member Global Gender and Climate...

Children walk through a sandstorm in Tillaberi region, Niger (Feb 2012)  © Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN

Climate Change and Displacement: Addressing Protection Gaps

Thursday, January 29, 2015

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Climate change and environmental degradation are increasingly becoming a humanitarian issue. Variability in climate, as well as in increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, is disrupting livelihoods, driving displacement, and contributing to conflicts over increasingly limited natural resources. While climate change is impacting lives on a global scale, the populations most likely to be affected – those already vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters – are also the least able to cope, particularly due to poverty, state fragility, geographic vulnerability, resource insecurity, low resiliency or legacies of past more...

The Role of Gender in Humanitarian Protection and Response

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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What role does gender play in humanitarian crises? How could a gendered lens improve humanitarian practitioners’ approaches to designing and implementing assistance and protection programs in complex environments?

A gendered perspective of humanitarian protection focuses on analyzing the impact of gender on vulnerabilities in conflict settings. Women and men experience different forms of violence and resulting needs, and different constraints on their access to resources and services. While men are more likely to die during conflict, for example, women are more likely to die after a conflict has officially ended, or to suffer from more...


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