Today’s soldiers are smart. They launch missiles and drones from a safe distance behind computer screens. And when they are obliged to venture out, they are forewarned by intelligence and well protected by their armour.
In contrast, more and more civilian aid workers, protected by little more than their sense of righteousness, serve at chaotic frontlines, and are pressured to bear witness and provide succour…come what may. Unsurprisingly, some of them are bound to be harmed.
But it is not just being in the wrong place that puts humanitarian workers at risk.There is increasing mistrust of the humanitarian enterprise either because its practitioners are not so scrupulous nowadays or their efforts can be easily abused for other ends. Besides, in a world of impunity where bad behaviour is a norm and there is rarely any accountability for hurting aid worker, it is simple to target humanitarian access as part of warmaking tactics.
Could it be that it is not random bombs and bullets but the erosion and abuse of humanitarian principles (including by careless humanitarians themselves) that is killing more of them?
Humanitarian business is booming worldwide as disasters, conflicts, and crises reach record levels. So, the appointment of the world’s chief humanitarian officer by the United Nations Secretary-General is of crucial interest to all who care about humanity. What type of person should fill this mandate?
Hindsight 2020 and Foresight 2021 are much the same. This critical “review of reviews” analyses the true state of the world at the end of this tumultuous year and posits that the next year will be much the same. Can #COVID19 be fully blamed for all the world’s afflictions? Before the pandemic the world was already crumbling fast and progress on all fronts of development, environment, health, humanitarian and human rights had faltered or regressed. To make future progress self and collective delusions have to be torn away to grip the sad realties most people are mired in and the tough challenges we face
18 October 2020 – Mukesh Kapila The recent award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) triggered mixed reactions. WFP’s humanitarian efforts certainly deserve applause. At the same time, questions arise. Do already privileged organisations doing their mandated jobs need such affirmation? More fundamentally, should humanitarian and peace efforts be confounded?Continue reading “Peace continues to elude the Nobel Prize”