CERAH's Working Paper series represents outstanding dissertations by CERAH's MAS students.
This pages lists the series chronologically, providing a short abstract for each Working Paper.
- See also Working Papers, listed by theme.
Henne, Sonja. Responsible Deployment of New Technologies in Humanitarian Crises. 2016. Working Paper 41.
Since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 a surge of new technologies has been observed in humanitarian action. This phenomenon has been described as ‘digital humanitarianism’. While in the early years many information technologists and humanitarians expressed great enthusiasm about the possibilities these tools and methods offer, more recently scholars and practitioners have voiced a number of concerns. These include operational challenges as well as ethical reservations. A call for frameworks has been made by several experts in the field. In response, a number of the larger stakeholders in the humanitarian ecosystem, such as the UN, the ICRC, Médecins Sans Frontières and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative have commenced discussions and started working on standards. This dissertation reviews the challenges associated with the new technologies, assesses the main guidelines which have been drafted to date and identifies a number of gaps for further reflection. Two case studies, the earthquakes in Nepal 2015 and in Ecuador 2016, are being reviewed.
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Vannatter, Tricia. Intimate Partner Violence and humanitarian action: considering cultural context and gender dynamics. 2017. Working Paper 43.
Gender-based violence occurs against women all over the world but the problem is worse in the context of humanitarian crises. Despite a growing awareness about the increased prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in crisis settings, there is a lack of research on effective interventions to prevent and respond to IPV. In Arab regions IPV is experienced in a context of traditional patriarchal culture and unequal gender dynamics where society is largely tolerant of violence against women, including women. There is a lack of understanding on how to address this since most research and interventions have been designed based on experiences in the West and non-Arab contexts. This paper explores the context of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon and uses the social ecological model to help frame how humanitarian interventions tackle IPV. This paper examines whether interventions take into account the complex environment of culture-specific gender relations in which women experience IPV. IPV is a difficult area to research given the sensitive nature of the topic but to be effective humanitarian interventions must implement culturally competent interventions that consider the different levels of the social ecological model.
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Au-Gener, Bridgit. Engaging Diaspora Health Workers in Humanitarian Action. 2016. Working Paper 42.
In this global age, humanitarian action is being carried out by different actors, bringing with them diverging sets of principles, norms and practices outside the formal humanitarian system. The diaspora communities, particularly the health workers, are largely involved in bringing humanitarian assistance to origin countries in times of crisis. These new players render their professional medical service by taking advantage of the cultural and linguistic familiarity and political and religious affiliation, among others, to get in touch with the affected population as quickly as they can. However, despite their increasing prominence in the humanitarian field, the formal system does not necessarily view them in an equal footing.
This paper gives an overview of how the traditional humanitarian actors engage the diaspora health community in humanitarian action. In countries with specially high density of health professional out-migration, the risks and vulnerabilities of the population are higher in times of crisis. This literature review provides a brief discussion of the dynamics on the increasing prominence and significance of the diaspora health workers in the field of humanitarian action, running in parallel with the traditional humanitarian actors.
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Elgayar, Wasel. Humanitarian shelter response in urban setting during armed conflict. 2016. Working Paper 41.
Today most refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) live in cities not camps, where they seek better living conditions, job opportunities and anonymity. Many moved in search of safety from conflict, persecution or disaster. Rapid and effective urban shelter response is not just essential for survival and alleviating suffering but also contributes to security, safety, health and well-being of refugees, IDPs and affected populations. In addition, it promotes recovery in affected cities that are complex, vulnerable and dynamic. Therefore more knowledge and better understanding of the policy and the practice of shelter support in urban conflict is urgently needed in humanitarian action, especially in the Middle East, where the largest number of people made homeless by conflict are found. This dissertation questions how shelter policy is implemented is urban conflict, focusing on the Middle East. It uses comparative analysis of information gathered in semi-structured interviews concerning two contemporary case studies, Damascus and Gaza, Arab cities facing the consequences of armed conflicts with increasing number of refugees and IDPs. Certain ways are identified for a more effective shelter response leading to safer and more dignified shelter solutions in conflict and post-conflict urban settings in the Middle East and beyond.
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Michiles, Carlos. Nepal: Different crises, Different Impacts. 2016. Working Paper 40.
Introduction: For a growing number of communities worldwide, man-made and natural disasters have impacted the health systems in significant ways. Both types of crises often produce the same result: an imbalance in the cohesiveness of a regions health system’s supporting pillars compromising the population’s health care as reflected in health indicators.
Methodology: This dissertation explores the impact on the health system of Nepal from two crises. The first man-made, the civil war (1996-2006). The second by natural disaster, the 2015 earthquake. This paper relies on a review of authoritative literature from peer-reviewed journals, reports and grey literature. This paper utilizes The WHO Health Systems Framework consisting of the six building blocks which form the pillars of a well functioning health delivery system (i.e. governance, service delivery, workforce, sustainable financing, medical drugs and supplies and information) to assess the relative effect of each crisis upon the health system of Nepal.
Results: The financing and information pillars were highly affected in both crises. The governance and workforce pillars were highly impacted by the civil war while the earthquake had a lesser effect. The service delivery and medical drugs and supplies were highly impacted by the earthquake with only moderate impact caused by the civil war. As will be discussed in detail, the reasons for differences in the results lies in numerous factors including the political environment, the massive destruction of infrastructure and various other issues.
Conclusion: The violent ten-year conflict left scars upon the population. Nevertheless, the crisis impact on the fragile health system during the decade of conflict was, in some aspects, mitigated by the Maoist health agenda. The insurgents’ efforts to keep health assistance available to the population was crucial to the improvement of the health indicators both during the conflict and after, during the coalition government. On the other hand, the earthquake, unprecedented in its widespread destruction, abruptly disrupted the health system, especially in rural areas. The natural disaster revealed the government's negligence in addressing the
health system’s vulnerabilities during the years between the civil war and the earthquake. Preparedness stands as an essential investment need in the future to reduce the impact of disasters on the health system and, consequently, on the population.
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Davidoff, Valérie. The contribution of anthropology during the operational response to an Ebola outbreak. An analysis of the West African Ebola epidemic. 2016. Working Paper 39.
This paper analyses the anthropological contributions to the Ebola outbreak response from the 2000s until today. The recent West African Ebola outbreak is used as a case study to see if past findings and recommendations have been taken into account, and how. The first part of this paper reviews selected literature on the topic, while the second part, which is fed by interviews, questions the findings in the literature to determine the knowledge gaps and/or the limits in anthropology for better responses in the future.
The approach used by pioneering anthropologists in the 2000s was still being used during the last outbreak in West Africa, despite some past criticism. From a positive side, the approach has helped to improve the response while being culturally more appropriate and therefore more efficient. At the same time, taking local knowledge into consideration and integrating the communities might help to reduce misunderstandings and potential resistance towards response teams.
Despite these recommendations, a question remains as to how the humanitarian actors (including MSF and the WHO) have integrated this advice (or not) into their response. The findings in this paper indicate that anthropologists and humanitarian workers have attempted to collaborate during the last outbreak; however, efforts still need to be done to reach an anthropology that might be “humanitarian friendly” and used as a toolbox.
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Kazwini, Batoul. Participation of people affected by conflict in humanitarian action: Between theory and practice Case study: "Al-Busira" project - Syria. 2016. Working Paper 38.
Participation, a concept inspired from the development world, continues to challenge humanitarian actors in understanding and practice. The need for fast responses which is the main character of the humanitarian action made actors doubt the possibility of doing high leveled participation during their fast and mostly short term interventions. Humanitarian actors finally agreed on the importance and the possibility of engaging with communities in humanitarian projects even in conflict situations which is normally more challenging, however, practice still shows a need for more progress.
Guidelines and donors’ declarations are pushing toward more effective involvement with affected communities to achieve higher quality and transparency. Yet, lower levels of participation, mostly the consultative and the functional forms are still the most dominant in humanitarian projects.
A review of literature about the definition of participation, its typologies and levels was done as an attempt to capture an understanding of the concpet. Then to compare with the practice, a case study of a participatory project done with IDPs in a conflict area was presented. The study tried to give a voice to the affected population who participated in the project, aiming to compare their views with the opinions of project implementers. Opinions of implementers and community members matched in some points (the role of community as source of information during assessments and their functional role during implementation) and did not in others (information sharing and community initiatives as levels of participation). However, in general both - community and implementers - had a limited understanding and involvement in the decision making process, by linking it only with the
consultation during diagnosis stage.
In brief, this research confirms the idea that a more comprehensive understanding and practice of higher levels of participation is still needed in humanitarian aid projects..
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Sacko, Moussa. Action humanitaire et déterminants de la résilience des ménages dans une situation de post conflit Cas de la région de Tombouctou (Nord du Mali) après la crise de 2012. 2016. Working Paper 37.
La question de recherche est la suivante: Quels sont les déterminants de la résilience des ménages dans la région de Tombouctou (Niafounké) après le conflit armé de 2012 ? Et comment les organisations humanitaires présentes dans la région depuis des décennies ont agi sur les déterminants de cette résilience, et peuvent-elles améliorer l’efficacité de leur action dans le futur ?
Cette question de recherche, au-delà des configurations climatiques et économiques décrites cidessus, est liée à un contexte de crise et de fortes perturbations. Le « resilience thinking » nécessite la compréhension et l’engagement avec un monde où il y a des changements. La question de recherche y trouve son sens en permettant de contribuer à la compréhension de la résilience des ménages dans cette région dans une situation post-conflit mais aussi de proposer des pistes allant dans le sens de l’amélioration des actions des organisations humanitaires. Dans la littérature certains auteurs lient clairement la résilience et le renforcement des capacités au caractère perturbé et complexe de l’environnement dans lequel on intervient. Pour Walker et Satt : « On vit dans un monde complexe. Toute personne avec une part de responsabilité dans la gestion d’un quelconque aspect de ce monde bénéficiera d’une riche compréhension de la résilience et de ses implications ».7 Ces auteurs utilisent une analogie pour montrer la différence entre un problème d’optimisation et un problème de renforcement de ses capacités et de sa résilience. Le premier renvoie à un contexte normal tandis que le second renvoie à un contexte avec des perturbations. Dans un contexte avec des perturbations, comme celui de la région de Tombouctou, il est nécessaire de renforcer la résilience des communautés affectées afin d’atteindre les résultats escomptés.
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Chavez Aguirre, Oscar. Humanitarian Protection in Violent Urban Settings: Challenges and Dynamics. 2016. Working Paper 36.
Today more than three billion people, half of the world´s population, are living in urban areas. The increase of urban violence in some cities has reached even higher intensity levels of violence than armed conflicts. In response, over the past five years, humanitarian organizations are increasingly interested in the humanitarian consequences of urban violence, and are focusing more in violent urban settings in order to provide protection to urban dwellers. While humanitarians are playing a crucial role in providing protection to victims of urban violence, they are also facing challenges to give it. This paper explores those challenges that affect the humanitarian protection activities carried out by humanitarian actors in violent urban settings. Based on evidence from a literature review of primary and secondary sources, complemented by interviews with key experts on urban violence, and looking at the particular case of Mexico, the research reveals that there are assessment, security, legal, coordination, and human resources challenges. Those challenges are caused by the complexity of the urban setting and its dynamics, which are explored in this paper. Moreover, the study proved that humanitarian actors need to adapt protection strategies to the realities of urban violence. Since understanding these protection challenges should enable humanitarians to take operational measures and adapt approaches accordingly, the present paper concludes with some recommendations which would help them face the challenges identified in the research. Future studies should go deeper into legal and ethical aspects of the challenges identified and, in particular, into how to overcome the protection challenges identified and bring operational solutions. This would be necessary so as to continue improving the protection response, and alleviating suffering of victims of urban violence.
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Shahzad, Neelofar. Participation of affected women in post disaster responses particularly livelihoods strategies – reality or myth. 2016. Working Paper 35.
Women are usually among the worst affected segments when a disaster hits an area. Several researchers and writers have reiterated that women have certain capacities and capabilities but which the postdisaster responses hardly take into account. Likewise, several theoretical as well as legal frameworks and guidelines substantiate the importance of affected women’s participation across different phases of the developmental as well as humanitarian program cycle management. Nevertheless, evidence shows that real participation of women in general and the most vulnerable of them in particular is hardly ensured at the critical stage of needs-assessment.
The lack of involvement at needs-assessment stages has further implications on gender sensitive programming. Hence, the literature review as well as the analysis on selected humanitarian response-plans suggest drastic improvement in livelihood’s strategies from the perspective of vulnerability and gender sensitivities. Moreover, the post-disaster needs-assessments should take good care of the pre-existing gender gaps.This gender-balanced analysis should translate that the post-disaster response strategies, particularly livelihoods, are designed based on equity approach to address the gender and vulnerability issues in a more systematic way.
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Ortega Cruz, Constanza. Empowerment of Women during Conflict and Post-Conflict Phases and the Role of Humanitarian Aid Organizations in Supporting Women’s Newfound Empowerment Gained during Conflict. 2016. Working Paper 34.
In patriarchal societies, women are particularly vulnerable and targeted in several forms during an armed conflict. This is mainly due to a continuance of gender inequality. However, a conflict can also be a time of opportunity for women’s empowerment due to changes in their traditional roles and new responsibilities that they must assume in the absence of men who are away fighting in the conflict. Nevertheless, in many post-conflict scenarios achievements in the area of women’s empowerment are often reversed and, no matter how well women may have taken on new public and social roles or developed new skills and competencies, they tend to go back to their previous roles as mothers, wives and home keepers. Once men return from conflict, they want to go back to the previous status quo. Often during conflicts, there are temporary changes in gender roles but not in gender identities. Consequently, women are not well prepared to hold on to their new positions. This dissertation explores if there is a role humanitarian organizations can play in maintaining women’s empowerment in post-conflict scenarios through the observation of the main elements which contribute to women’s empowerment during a conflict period. It will also examine the principal obstacles to maintaining this empowerment in a post-conflict phase.
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Salim, Muhammad. Delivery of humanitarian assistance by International Development Contractors (IDCs) and its consequences for traditional humanitarian actors – a case of Pakistan. 2016. Working Paper 33.
Owing largely to the multiplicity of actors resulting mainly from unprecedented exponential growth of humanitarian activity in the recent past, IDCs are among the emergent players on aidscape. Though the humanitarian flagship reports, clubbing funding to traditional actors and IDCs under the same category of „humanitarian assistance‟, can be misleading on their exact share, yet the analysis on financial data of individual donors indicated that a good chunk is channeled through IDCs. The upwards trends concerning the role of IDCs can largely be attributed to the contracting out policies of major donors, revolving door policy among IDCs and major donors, their possibility to socialize with donors as well as evidence supporting that the IDCs have even funded political campaigns in some donor countries. Drawing on the fact that these IDCs are profit driven and may even work towards the achievement of certain political goals of donor countries, their ability to generate resources is termed as a trade-off between „generating additional resources‟ and „respecting humanitarian principles‟. This certainly has negative consequences for traditional humanitarian actors as the growing influence of IDCs is causing issues of competition for resources, coordination at operational level and posing challenges to traditional actors in maintaining their humanitarian capacity.
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Studer, Eva. Respect and Promotion of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflicts. 2016. Working Paper 32.
Ten years have passed since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, further called the Convention). Today, more and more States ratify this treaty and commit therefore to respect and protect the rights of persons with disabilities (PwD). The States Parties have the primary responsibility of promoting and mainstreaming disability rights in civil society. Disabled persons organisations (DPOs) and other nongovernmental organisations demand and support the implementation of the Convention, under
the vigilant eye of the UN Committee of the CRPD.
However respecting and upholding the rights of persons with disabilities during times of armed conflict is a different challenge. Through searching databases, conducting interviews with a NGO and with the UN Secretary of the Committee, this document examines how the CRPD is respected and promoted today in conflict affected countries. The main challenges in protecting disability rights are related to issues regarding insufficient political will, lack of awareness most clearly demonstrated by the lack of clear definition of the term ‘disability’, legislative protection, lack of appropriate data collection and the fear and stigmatisation of persons with disabilities; considering these challenges in the context of armed conflict is an increasing relevant concern.
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Abuelgasim, Meriam. Communication between INGOs and the media in respect to the kidnapping of Aid workers. 2016. Working Paper 31.
The purpose of this study is to explore and analyze, if and why, there has been a change in INGO reporting of the kidnapping cases of humanitarian aid workers in the post-Cold War and since The Global War on Terror (GWOT). An effort will be made to interpret the information to determine to what extent INGOs have understood the affects, and power, of media reporting during the kidnapping of aid workers. This paper will endeavor to address issues spreading farther than the concept of ‘humanitarian access’; it will extend to the topics of security and policies, the sensitivity of negotiation processes, the propensity to avoid highlighting organizational weaknesses in public and the delicate relationships that must be maintained with donors in order for programs to continue.
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Billat, Celine. The Funding of Humanitarian Action by Non-Western Donors: The Sustainability of Gulf States’ Contribution. 2015. Working Paper 30.
Non-Western donors are increasingly funding humanitarian action and among them Gulf States are dominating the aid flows. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar are the four Gulf donors most significantly contributing. Indeed, those four donors have raised their contributions from 1% of the total humanitarian funding in 2000 to reach 7% in 2014 (Source: https://fts.unocha.org/). The main issue is therefore to address the following question: is increasing Gulf States’ contribution to humanitarian action a sustainable trend? Or is it only due to ad hoc and temporary reasons and might thus wane once these specific factors disappear? This paper argues that Gulf States high-level humanitarian funding is indeed likely to continue on a middle/long term perspective.
This finding is based on the three main following arguments. Gulf States’ donorship is anchored in their religion and culture, combined with great political interests in funding humanitarian action essentially linked with their strategic foreign policy considerations (Part I). These factors lead Gulf States to implement a sustainable strategy articulated around two parallel dynamics: the integration into the traditional humanitarian system (understood as the Western system coordinated by the UN) through increased penetration of its institutions and increased funding and partnerships with Western actors (Part II) at the same time as the building of their own national and regional institutional and operational systems (Part III).
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Caicedo Bucheli, Maria Alejandra. Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Humanitarian Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities. 2015. Working Paper 29.
The increasing awareness of the risks and demands of humanitarian work has prompted the strengthening of safety and mental care protection strategies for humanitarian staff in the last decade. Humanitarian organizations in their duty of care are transforming their programs towards more holistic health approaches for their personnel. However, some organizational dynamics plus the complexity of the context where they operate, pose a variety of difficulties to promote healthy lifestyles for those involved in the humanitarian aid sector. Through searching databases and conducting interviews with researchers and health staff managers from four International Humanitarian Organizations, this document explores health practices covered by these organizations’ units of staff care. The main challenges in promoting health are related to issues inherent to the definition of the concept of lifestyle itself, narrow staff care policies, cultural diversity, living locations constraints, weaknesses in health data gathering systems and an organizational culture that neglects selfcare.
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Tewolde, Mehari. Lessons Learned from Task Shifting for ART: Could it be Applied to Diabetes Mellitus Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa? 2015. Working Paper 28.
Explores the lessons learnt from task shifting for ART that could be applied to non-communicable chronic diseases with the focus on diabetes mellitus in Sub-Saharan African (SSA). SSA countries face continuous shortages of health workers and with the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and are exacerbated further by conflicts. In 2014, there were about 22 million individuals with diabetes and 62.5% remain undiagnosed and expected to increase by 100% in 2030. However, lessons can be learned from task shifting for ART to ease the health workers shortage for NCDs.
The task shifting strategy proved to be efficient for ART and there is evidence with the positive health outcomes. The main lessons learned that could be applied to diabetes mellitus are the need to strengthen and reorganize health services which includes trainings, regular supervisions, a continuous supply of logistics and funding, adjustment of the health policy framework to support the shifting of tasks, standardized and simplified regimens, protocols and guidelines, community and patient empowerment, decentralisation and a referral system. Task-shifting is a viable model to respond to health workforce crises and could be clinically effective for the management of diabetes. However, task shifting should be combined with the strengthening of health services, training and enabling policy frameworks. In addition, most of the studies have been carried out so far are small and mainly observational, more of longer duration are needed to explore the evidences in each task-shifting model.
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Sanchez Bean, María Celeste. Creating Humanitarian Space in the Era of the Global War on Terrorism: Context of the Gaza Strip. 2015. Working Paper 27.
Analyses how humanitarian space is created in the Gaza Strip in the context of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) since Hamas came to power in 2007. By adopting a definition of ‘humanitarian space’ as a political arena, it focuses on the negotiated nature of this space and the role played by States and humanitarian international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in its creation. In this line, this research explores how States and humanitarian INGOs interpret the context of Gaza, and its consequences for humanitarian action. With the GWOT acting as a framework, the analysis reveals that the strategy of States to defeat Hamas has focused on targeting its welfare system, both by imposing the blockade and by controlling the provision of aid, including that of INGOs. On the other hand, it suggests that INGOs’ interpretation of their role as neutral and apolitical has led them to disregard the very political nature of their activities in Gaza, and to be instrumentalized in the war against Hamas.
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Meilian, Lin. What Made China Behave Differently? China’s Perception of Humanitarian Assistance. 2015. Working Paper 26.
Analyzes the Chinese perception of humanitarian action using a case study on the media coverage of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines between the Global Times and the New York Times. Through literature review and media analysis, the findings indicate that as a new player in the Western-centric humanitarian system, China is lacking confidence. Thus it does not feel comfortable to be compared with the US. Moreover, as China does not want to be seen as in the same box with the West, it is unlike to alliance between the West and China on humanitarian assistance. Based on these findings, this paper explores China’s potential role in international humanitarian assistance and proposes strategic recommendations for engaging with China.
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Al Nawakil, Marya. Victims’ Representation in Humanitarian Campaigns: The Case of the Syrian Crisis. 2015. Working Paper 25.
Tackles the representation of Syrian victims in three different NGO campaigns: Save the children “Most shocking second a day” video, Islamic Relief “The children of Syria” campaign and lastly WithSyria campaign. In fact, the purpose of this paper is to firstly present the critics around humanitarian images and appeals, secondly to identify whether the representation of Syrian victims in the campaigns mentioned above embody any innovative and new ways of portrayal mainly based on Chouliaraki’s study on post-humanitarian communication. Actually, a shift in the representation of victims in appeals took place which moved from “shock” images which were condemned for dehumanizing and victimizing the subjects and “positive” images criticized for glossing over the misery of the suffering to a less emotion oriented style of appeals which favors low-intensity engagement and follows the development of social media and technology, thus commodifying the action, rendering it unable to go beyond the playful games that these new appeals offer. This shift in fact appears in the campaigns analyzed in this paper, where the NGOs have resorted to a click of a mouse type of engagement and use playful games such as optical illusions and hyperreality to provoke solidarity with the distant Syrian suffering. On the other hand, these recent campaigns have also used more “traditional” ways of representation, in which women and children remain the main focus of charities and idiom of suffering and misery and have proven that melodrama is still necessary to provoke emotions and calls for solidarity.
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Nzeyimana, Henri. Localizing Humanitarian Response: Can the Rhetoric Translate into Concrete Action? South Sudan Case Study. 2015. Working Paper 24.
This research focuses on the long standing question of capacity development/strengthening for local and national actors so as to assume leadership and management of humanitarian response. Research findings prove that this localization process remains a rhetoric owing to multiple factors including humanitarian funding that is short-term, inaccessible in most parts to local actors and often serves to advance donor priorities. Other challenges include humanitarian coordination which prioritizes UN agencies and international NGOS and sideline local actors; a narrow focus of capacity development aimed at INGO performance and accountability for continued donor funding and asymmetrical power relationship between local actors and international agencies. South Sudan case study reveals that in addition to the above-mentioned challenges, the rhetoric and reality gap is founded mainly on the fact that the humanitarian question in South Sudan is much more developmental and embedded in poor local governance and ill-targeted international assistance. Using evidence from literature and data from interviews, the research concludes with an analytical framework of fundamental changes needed to achieve devolution of humanitarian response in South Sudan. This fundamental change passes by an inward-looking perspective to build on existing indigenous capacities and resources so as to shift from supply to demand-driven humanitarian response.
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Claire, Arjun. Humanitarian Protection: Caught between Definitions and Practical Challenges. 2015. Working Paper 23.
The fluidness of protection has challenged humanitarian actors accustomed to the tangibility of assistance in the form of food, medicines and shelter. Although they have undertaken a range of protection programmes in conflict situations, the wide span of their activities, critics claim, has deviated focus from addressing the most crucial protection threats. The broad scope of the IASC definition of protection, acknowledged by most humanitarian actors, is often viewed as the wellspring of the problem. It is considered to have induced a lack of common understanding among humanitarian actors around the nature of protection work. By reviewing protection policies of five major actors along with key informant interviews of practitioners and experts, this study has attempted to contribute to the debate by identifying elements that lead to disparate interpretations of protection. The findings contradict the dominant narrative. They indicate propensity towards convergence than divergence. Differences are not fundamental in nature, and boil down to practical and operational considerations. This paper argues instead that protection activities are more likely to be impacted by external factors such as policies of host governments, security and funding, to name a few. Finally, the study observes that humanitarian actors will often have to consider the trade-off between addressing protection concerns and access, especially when confronted with intransigent governments. In other words, the paper concludes, there may be inherent limits to humanitarian protection activities.
Esterman, Johanna. Towards a Convergence of Humanitarian and Development Assistance through Cash Transfers to Host Communities. A Case Study on Wadi Khaled and Akroum - Akkar District, Lebanon. 2014. Working Paper 22.
Focuses on the attempt of linking relief and rehabilitation and development within the aid community along a contiguum approach. In times of crisis or disaster the needs of the affected population are diverse and range from basic needs to livelihoods and community infrastructure. The dissertation is based on a case study of a cash for hosting project in northern Lebanon where protective shelter for Syrian refugees was provided through supporting those who provided this protective shelter (hosting households and communities). This paper documents that cash transfer programming targeting the host community bears a high potential of impact on a sustainable socio-economic development in enhancing the economy of an underdeveloped and impoverished region. This paper provides also evidence that a combination of the following factors are favourable to link emergency and development: Aid provision through cash transfer programming, inclusion of the guest (displaced) and the host (residents) community and the interaction of short term humanitarian assistance and long term development assistance.
Wyss Isaza, Eric. Supporting Conflict Transformation and Victims in Colombia: An Analysis of the Official Development Assistance from 2002 To 2011 and Beyond. 2013. Working Paper 21.
This research focuses on the ODA allocated to Colombia from 2002 to 2011, as a way to understand the role of the international community in the process of conflict transformation. Using national and international data and sources, the analysis provides evidence of the approaches of different international stakeholders to assist the victims and to support the country in its journey towards peace. The results indicate that at least two thirds of the ODA addressed various conflict-related topics and that ’conflict victims’ received the highest share. They also hint to different assistance and protection strategies, and show that recovery and restoration gradually became part of the cooperation agenda. Based on these findings, the paper explores the perspectives of international cooperation for the country in the coming years and proposes strategic recommendations for future external support to the transformation of its conflict.
Gvalia, Eka. Increased Participation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS): Proposal for the Improvement of the Implementation of the State Strategy Action Plan on IDPS in Georgia. 2013. Working Paper 20.
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Georgia face a number of challenges in participating in politics, decision-making and overall public life. This research aims to emphasize the main factors which have impeded the participation of IDPs in the implementation of the State Strategy Action Plan for 2009-2012. It also suggests the recommendations to the Government of Georgia and other relevant stakeholders regarding establishing the mechanisms to increase the participation of IDPs in the implementation of the Action Plan for 2012-2014. The research is based on the literature review and five interviews with practitioners from government, donor, international NGOs and national civil society. The findings of the study suggest that the policies and structures supporting IDPs’ participation certainly exist, but significant improvements are required to change the attitude of Government towards the policy implementation and the approach of different actors – Government, civil society and IDP communities – towards the application of participatory approaches.
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Piraux, Anne. Hétérodoxie de la compassion: Influence de la franc-maçonnerie dans l’émergence de l’action humanitaire sécularisée au xixème siècle. 2013. Working Paper 19.
La laïcisation générale de la société dans le monde occidental au milieu du XIXème siècle conduisit les organisations caritatives existantes à s’extraire de ce carcan doctrinal. Les figures emblématiques de l’aide humanitaire contemporaine de ce siècle furent pour certains des francs-maçons avérés, d’autres des francs-maçons supputés voire mythiques. L’origine chrétienne de l’assistance humanitaire occidentale contemporaine ne fait donc aucun doute. Néanmoins, l’influence des francs-maçons dans la société occidentale fut également très prégnante, dès le XVIIIème siècle, en raison de l’origine socio-économique des Frères. Ce travail va donc tenter de déterminer la part d’influence de la franc-maçonnerie au XIXème siècle dans l’émergence de l’humanitaire contemporain sécularisé tel qu’on le connait de nos jours en utilisant une approche prosopographique.
Although the Christian origin of humanitarian aid is established beyond any doubt, the influence of Freemasonry was very high in the occidental Society as from the 18th-Century, in particular because of the Brothers socio-economic origins. The secularization of the occidental society in the mid-19th century allowed Charities to become free of any religious constraint. The then great figures of humanitarian aid were either recognised Freemasons or speculative Freemasons, not to say mythic. The aim of my thesis is to determine to what extend the influence of Freemasonry in the 19th century has contributed to mould/shape modern secular humanitarian aid. To that end, I will use a prosopographic Approach.
Aliassi, Taimoor. Drug Addiction as a Human Right Issue in Iran. 2013. Working Paper 18.
Addresses the drug policies of Iran and their effects on the Iranian religious minorities and ethnic nationalities, especially the Kurds. It sets out that a large percentage of death sentences carried out in Iran are of Kurdish persons accused of drug offenses. This paper provides some historical perspectives and shows that this situation is a product of the current drug-related policies of the Iranian government of Iran. It posits that the international community, by supporting the official anti-drug efforts in Iran, is actually fostering anti-Kurd measures, including the death sentences of addicts making more harm than ‘good’. In describing advocacy initiatives from Iranian and Kurdish NGOs, as well as media mobilization, it shows that activists in and abroad the country are subjected to onerous conditions, severely hampering their ability to both address the drug issues and provide humanitarian assistance to the addicts. It also describes many initiatives undertaken at the national and the international level by individual advocates and advocacy groups to denounce these practices and pressure the regime for changes. It concludes with a call to expose publically this situation, urges for effective measures to help the addicts and the affected minorities, and to end the oppressive drug policies of the Iranian regime.
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Tsitrinbaum, Yuri. Humanitarian Partnerships under Fire: A Case Study of Somalia. 2012. Working Paper 17.
As a consequence of the deteriorating insecurity in Somalia, international aid organizations have dramatically scaled down their field presence since 2006. Operations on the ground have been increasingly carried out through local partners and staff via remote management: a model which has challenged traditional operational modalities and brought many ethical dilemmas. This work aims to create better understanding of humanitarian partnerships in this context, outlining the impact of remote management on the dynamics between local and international humanitarian actors. The study is based on a literature review and 18 interviews with humanitarian practitioners and researchers. This work posits that while international actors often doubt the capacities of local actors and their ability to deliver aid, the reality reveals local actors have a better capacity to deliver humanitarian assistance in Somalia today. The central role of local actors in Somalia has created an opportunity for international actors to support them: by equipping them to respond and developing support systems for any up-coming crisis.
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Harerimana, Richard. La place des femmes dans les comités de participation des réfugiés congolais au Burundi, camp de Musasa. 2012. Working Paper 16.
The participation of the refugees in the activities of assistance and protection finds its bases in the international texts relating to the humans right. Many fundamental texts of the humanitarian highlight its importance as one of the most significant working methods. In the case of camp management, the UNHCR and NRC are among the international and nongovernmental organizations which contributed much to define tools of the camp management project. They consist of directives aiming at guaranteeing an equal representation of women and men in the refugee committees.
The set up of representative committees is one of the means which were adopted to make participating women and men in equal representation. This one remains always desired especially in Burundi refugee camps. Actually, there are often differences between the theory and the practice to grant to the recipients a real participation because of several factors.
This thesis refers to other preceded researches which already tackled the question of the participation of the populations affected in the projects of assistance and protection. It is interested particularly in the access of the women to refugee committees in the Musasa camp. It tries to show on the one hand how the factors related on the socioculturel context and the practices of the humanitarians limit the places of the women in the committees of the representatives and on the other hand proposes some tracks of solutions to finish with these inequalities.
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Vionnet, Cédric. Les blessures invisibles liées au stress qu’endurent les travailleurs humanitaires. Les cas de MSF et du CICR. 2012. Working Paper 15
This paper focuses on the support provided by humanitarian agencies to humanitarian aid workers, in order to combat the negative effects of stress before, during and after deployment. It points out the failures of programs to tackle stress of humanitarian aid workers of the major actors in the humanitarian field, Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières Ŕ MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (Comité International de la Croix Rouge Ŕ CICR).
A literature review of the means and the tools used by NGOs to mitigate the consequences of stress on their personnel has been conducted, and interviews have been held with prominent persons involved within the CICR and MSF. It can be observed that there is still a big divergence between humanitarian agencies regarding the support offered to their employees, ranging from no established provisions in the security and physical and mental health plan to a solid program and written procedures. Studies measuring the stress level of expats are rare, but the ones available show an important percentage of the stress level which humanitarian aid workers experience during and after a mission. Only recently there has been attention to the effects of stress on humanitarian aid workers; this development can be noticed since twenty years. However, a serious advancement has been made in the recognition of this issue. Nevertheless, the management of stress-related issues within the humanitarian sector has not yet been mastered. There are still a number of questions to be solved, and several support techniques are being operated without a consensus or standardization within the international community. Also, between theory and practice there are great differences.
Major issues in the debate regarding mental support for humanitarian aid workers include the creation of an effective support system, its financing and its quality. It has to be noted that this not only concerns NGOs but also States, which should create laws concerning the protection of employees, after deployment and which have to respect the legal position of the employer and its right to health. At the same time, humanitarian aid workers have to become more aware of the reality of working in the humanitarian field and of the risks involved, with the help/support of the NGOs that recruited them. An independent and confidential organization could assure a follow-up for these expats with the advantage to be neutral. A recognition of the Ŗesponsibility to protect the employees of humanitarian agencies should be made by the whole sector, and a modification of the code of conduct of the CICR might encourage in-depth research on the protection of the humanitarian aid worker. The training of managers, the settlement of internal disputes and the augmentation of the humanitarian aid workerřs resilience to stress are the main issues which should be discussed in the following years, with the overall objective of reinforcing the support to these expats.
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Zinzindohoue, Edmond. Etat des lieux de la sécurité alimentaire dans le département de l’Atakora (au nord-ouest du Bénin) et analyse des politiques publiques. 2012. Working Paper 14.
Atacora, in spite of its agricultural assets and the many agricultural programs which are implemented there, remains marked by the food insecurity. According to the food security investigation carried out by the World Food Program in 2008, 29% of the population of Atacora suffer from food insecurity. All the forms of protein-energy malnutrition are recorded among the children from 0 to 5 years. Food diversity is low among the children from 6 to 23 month. In the children from 6 to 59 months, the rate of acute malnutrition is 7.8%, the rate of chronic malnutrition is 42.8% and that of the ponderal insufficiency is 22.5%. The persistence of the food insecurity in this department is due to the inefficiency of the policies to fight against the food insecurity, which do not target the vulnerable people specifically to promote their access to the food, but is oriented towards the increase in the food production which strongly depends on cotton production for the access to the inputs, the equipment and the credit. The durable improvement of the food situation in Atacora requires the facilitation of the widening of the economic choices of the agricultural households, the reinforcement of capacity in techniques and equipment of post-harvest and social protection.
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Letang, Gardy. Approche intégrée de vulnérabilités et les enjeux de la résilience post-séisme 2010 à Port-au-Prince. 2012. Working Paper 13.
Haiti is generally identified as a land highly at risks of natural disasters. In a context marked by the scars of social, economic, environmental and political crisis, the earthquake of January 12, 2010 wiped out its economic and political capital. The disaster, produced by the huge weight of structural vulnerabilities, caused new forms of vulnerability especially among hundreds of thousands IDPs.
The lack of local capacities for response and the valorization of local assets by aid actors have constituted real challenges to build individual and community resilience through the humanitarian response in favor of the affected population coming essentially from slums. Thus, through the humanitarian action in the Metropolitan Area of Port-au-Prince, it is imperative to develop synergic actions between the various aid actors (government, NGOs, Agencies, ...) in order to apprehend the vulnerabilities before and after disaster and promote community resilience.
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Nizigiyimana, Pierre Claver. L'amélioration des conditions sanitaires dans les prisons du Burundi. 2012. Working Paper 12.
Prisons should preserve all the rights of detainees that are not incompatible with the deprivation of liberty, including the right to health. Countries must organize their health systems so as to avoid the discrimination of persons detained, in relation to the rest of the population. This is not the case in Burundi, a country in which the right to health of prisoners is largely violated as a result of lack of access to healthcare, of malnutrition, and of deplorable conditions of detention and hygiene. Besides compromising the dignity of the people detained, this situation leads to fragile health among detainees and deaths caused principally by HIV/AIDS and malaria. And yet, Burundi has adhered to international legal instruments which establish the right to health of detainees. Can we thus deduce that the lack of effectiveness of this right comes from the incapacity to uphold it or from the absence of political will?
The objective of this mémoire is not to enter into this debate but to shed light on the violations of the right to health of prisoners and to show that Burundi, despite its level of poverty, can make efforts using its own means or international assistance to restore the right to health of the detained. With regards to the detainees, they can use several means to assert their rights, including the right to health.
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Gahunga, Innocent. L’insertion professionnelle des jeunes adultes en situation de rue au Rwanda : analyse critique de leur participation dans le projet du centre Iława. 2012. Working Paper 11.
The active participation of young people should be guaranteed in all projects intended to them. This duty, which is considered as a right, is sufficiently removed in the employability project of street young adults trained at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Center. They adhere to this project of the Rwandan Ministry of Youth after being arrested and detained in the transit centers. Lack of effective involvement of these beneficiaries in all phases of this project generates in them frustration and reduces chances of appropriating of that project imposed to them by force. However, in Rwanda, many employability projects initiated by both state and private actors enable effective participation of street young people. This thesis shows, on the one hand, that the context in which the Iwawa Project was designed and its objectives would limit recognition of the active participation to the texts establishing the Iwawa Center and would to a lesser extend allowed their involvement in some phases of this program. On the other hand, it identifies some elements that could permit an active participation of these young adults and facilitate the ownership of the project of their employability.
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Travieso, Berta. Humanitarian Workers’ Views on the Integrated UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 2011. Working Paper 10.
Although the complete respect of the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence is in my view inherently impossible due to limited human, financial and logistics resources, to difficulties of access to populations in need, and to the political context where humanitarian assistance take place, humanitarian organisations should continue to strive to defend them as much as possible. The principle of impartiality and the established guidelines and principles to uphold it are not widely known nor used by humanitarian workers at field level and in regional and headquarters offices, and upholding the principle of impartiality is made more difficult where a UN Integrated Mission is in place, as is the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is confusion amongst humanitarian workers in regards to what integration means but generally it is felt that it has negative effects on humanitarian action, specifically in regards to subordination of humanitarian objectives to political and military priorities, and to shrinking of humanitarian space. Integration might have some positive effects such as better information flow and better opportunities for advocacy, but the negative impact it has on perception of impartiality remains critical. Increased and improved training for UN and NGOs humanitarian workers, as well as for UN mission civilian and military personnel is needed in regards to humanitarian principles, and to the roles of each actor in a conflict or post-conflict situation.
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Carron, Patricia. En Suisse, je peux ! 2011. Working Paper 9.
In many countries, LGBTI people are persecuted because they do not meet the expectations of the society in which they live. Switzerland is perceived as a welcoming place, with a rich humanitarian and Human Rights tradition. However, the issue of gender-related persecution is complex and often overlooked. The purpose of this research is to better understand how Swiss authorities treat asylum applications of LGBTI people and what kind of protection they receive. This research is based on official documents and interviews with employees of the Migration Office, NGOs, LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in Switzerland. It appears that issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation are still largely taboo, and most NGOs and Migration Office professionals are not sufficiently trained and sensitized to the issues. Currently, the environment to discuss this matter is not ripe. To mention just two examples, there is, nowadays, no law against homophobia in Switzerland and schools are reluctant to talk to students about these issues. In most cases, applicants LGBTI receive negative decisions, forcing them to live in hiding, weakening them further.
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Since the end of World War II, the proportion of civilian victims of armed conflict has steadily increased. Many believe this ratio to be between 80% and 90% of armed conflict victims (ICRC, UN WOMEN). In parallel, a significant increase in non-international armed conflicts has been observed, leading us to believe that humanitarian needs will continue to rise, as the conflicts born out of the Arabian Spring of 2011 illustrate. This mémoire, through a multidisciplinary approach, attempts to expand the IHL notion of civilian in order to reflect the reality of civilians, and demonstrate that they are, in fact, the key stake of today’s conflicts. We then deduce the consequences for humanitarian action and its principles. For, if there are no civilians left, is humanitarian action at all legitimate?
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Agabekov, Ivana. The Challenge of Educating Girls in Bangladesh: The Millennium Development Goals Perspective. 2011. Working Paper 7.
It is widely acknowledged that women’s low status in society negatively contributes to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and hampers prospects for the next generations. The importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment is underscored by its inclusion as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals.
Gender equality and women empowerment are seen as pillar of development and a key to achieving the other seven goals. Some developing countries have been praised internationally for their achievements in promoting equal opportunities for girls in education. This study main focus is to track the trends and quality of these achievements, under the scope of Millennium development Goals 2 and 3 for Bangladesh.
It is observed that Bangladesh did well in promoting gender equality at primary level education. However, completion rates at secondary level still favour boys and there’s no upward progress for girls towards tertiary level. Although the country is known for its original approaches and determination regarding many development issues, we argue that social norm of the school-going behaviour among girls in Bangladesh is not yet adopted and that this challenge needs more resolute action.
When compared to the panel of “similar countries” it seems that Bangladesh did rather well but yet not enough in promoting gender equality in education and women empowerment in general.
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Machado Paul. Intervention humanitaire en milieu urbain après une catastrophe d'origine naturelle : Ses spécificités et ses défis. 2011. Working Paper 6.
Recent natural catastrophes have mostly struck urban environments (Bam, Aceh, New-Orleans, Port-au-Prince and Sendai). This situation can be explained by constantly increasing urbanization across the globe. This leads us to believe that natural disasters in urban environments will continue to increase.
Therefore, this mémoire aims to discover the specificities and challenges of humanitarian action in urban areas, following a catastrophe caused by a violent natural phenomenon. Indeed, current humanitarian intervention plans do not seem to be well-adapted to the urban areas' features. Humanitarian knowledge and lessons-learned has mostly focused on rural areas; it remains to be done for urban areas. Our analysis explores this topic using the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
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Faller, Paul. Video Advocacy and Human Rights. 2011. Working Paper 5.
The first chapter consists of a theoretical approach concerning human rights and video advocacy. After a short definition of the main terms, I will focus on the relationship between human rights NGOs, victims of human rights violations, the mainstream media and the witnessing audience. I then shall analyze some psychosocial mechanisms of visible made violence regarding them. Finally, as a conclusion of the first part, some problematic aspects of the relationship between mass-media and human rights activist groups will be analyzed.
The second chapter is a more practical approach to video advocacy for human rights, in which I examine different forms of human rights video advocacy. To this end, I am choosing a particular human rights NGO that uses video advocacy and works closely together with grassroots organizations. By revising its different strategies of video advocacy for human rights I examine as many of its different aspects as possible.
WITNESS recently launched an advocacy campaign, which will serve to illustrate the entire process of advocating from the beginning to the end in a comprehensive manner. I will conclude by trying to answer the question of the impact of video advocacy when witnessing human rights violations and by glancing into the future of video advocacy.
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Phelippeau, Gabriel. La cour pénale internationale et l'espace humanitaire. 2011. Working Paper 4.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a new actor in armed conflict. Its creation was largely supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and by humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO). The complementarities and the proximity of the ICC with humanitarian action has seemed obvious to many. However, the ICC has strongly affected humanitarians in Uganda's conflict with the LRA and in the context of Darfur in Sudan. The humanitarian space is what determines humanitarians’ ability to do their work, it is above all a space of negotiation and compromise depending on many factors, among which humanitarian organizations count respect for the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence. The presence of the ICC in the conflicts in Uganda and Sudan has affected the humanitarian space by polarizing rhetoric and making it difficult for humanitarian workers to be perceived as independent and neutral. This difficulty is combined with other contemporary issues such as humanitarian coordination or the greater proximity with the peacekeeping forces.
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Bognini, Yabah Berthe. Sanction des violations du DIH et réconciliation post-conflit: d’une étude évaluative de la Sierra-Leone à des applications ultérieures en Côte d’Ivoire et au Soudan. 2011. Working Paper 3.
Countries emerging from an armed conflict characterized by massive violations of IHL and human rights face the same dilemma: sacrifice justice on the altar of reconciliation imperatives, or summon the perpetrators to account for the violations? Could justice and reconciliation be conciliated when dealing with a state’s violent past? Some countries, such as Sierra Leone, hammer together transitional justice and criminal proceedings with the expectation that the conjugation of storytelling of the victim, the forgiveness granted to the perpetrator and the judicial penalty of the crimes will serve the purpose of reconciliation and peace. The objective of this essay is to study the relevance and the efficiency of this dual process by evaluating Sierra Leonean case, the lessons learnt will be a good starting point for future analysis of Ivory Coast and Sudan cases.
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Weber, Nicole. Culturally Competent Humanitarian Actors: Addressing Psychosocial Wellbeing in Refugees: The Case of Hmong Children in the United States. 2010. Working Paper 2.
Promoting psychosocial wellbeing in resettled child refugees presents many opportunities and challenges for humanitarian actors. While psychosocial wellbeing has been identified as a humanitarian concern to be addressed in populations, especially after prolonged emergencies there are questions on how to provide the best evidence based approach. This paper will examine the issue of psychosocial wellbeing and humanitarian action through the case study of the ethnic group Hmong child refugee population in the United States. The different psychosocial programming models are discussed along with the role of traditional medicine. Furthermore, the importance of cultural competence, accountability, and evaluation in psychosocial programming is stressed.
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Noutsougan, Amedome. La réinsertion des enfants mendiants à Niamey: Situation et perspectives. 2010. Working Paper 1.
Ce mémoire analyse la situation des enfants mendiants au Niger et tente d’apporter des recommandations en vue de leur réintégration dans la société. Il établit l’hypothèse que la mendicité des enfants est d’abord due aux difficultés socio-économiques du pays. Notre analyse part des indicateurs statistiques qui montrent en particulier la proportion très importante des enfants dans le pays. Les enfants mendiants pris en considération sont les talibés et les autres enfants mendiants. Nous montrons que les causes de la mendicité des enfants sont essentiellement économiques, socioculturelles et religieuses. Il existe, d’autre part, toute une série d’instruments juridiques, tant internationaux que nationaux qui ont été mis en place par l’Etat ; l’application de ceux-ci demeure cependant problématique et, par ailleurs, la loi nigérienne tend à réprimer et non à intégrer la mendicité des enfants. Pour une amélioration de la situation, le Niger doit revoir ses politiques d’éducation et de formation pour encadrer ces enfants à travers les instruments juridiques existants et les réintégrer, mais pour cela une volonté politique est nécessaire.
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