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Has Humanitarian Space Collapsed As A Consequence Of The Global War On Terror?

2051 words - 9 pages

Considering how difficult to keep the humanitarian space in the conflict on-going place, there is a widespread belief among academic scholars that indicates insecurity for humanitarian aid workers leads shrink of humanitarian space under the civil war situation. Although public interest and budget for humanitarian aid have been growing in the world post-9/11, and following this, humanitarian space has been widened at the same time. However, it has been argued that keeping humanitarian space is still not easy to achieve. Especially in the situation of civil war, number of humanitarian aid workers lost life incidentally. Indeed many analytic researches show the evidence that humanitarian space ...view middle of the document...

This would be too much simplified explanation to define it yet partly true in classical definition. The phrase ‘espace humanitaire’ which was advocated in 1992 by Rony Brauman who is former Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) president, refers to ‘space for humanitarian action’ rephrased into ‘humanitarian space’(Ulrike von Pilar, 1999) and this term has been used in broaden ways by several humanitarian organisations including Red Cross (Hubert And Brassard-Boudrea, 2010). For MSF, humanitarian space creates a freedom of Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to evaluate needs of local residents, to monitor the distribution of relief and that’s’ use, and to have a colloquy with the people. Also, the United Nations defines humanitarian space “as a sphere within which the UN-led (and -coordinated) humanitarian assistance activities are provided in a secure and non-impeded manner” (Beauchamp, n.d.:4). Similarly, Herman stated humanitarian space as “…is both a physical as well as a metaphysical concept: shortly the geographical area where humanitarian action is deployed and the process of unhindered humanitarian action based upon the sacrosanct principles of neutrality, impartiality and humanity respectively” (2010). Sacrosanct principles, the principles of humanitarian action in other words, are Humanitarian, Impartial and Neutral (Mackintosh, 2005). To base on these three principles of humanitarian action is significant for the concept of humanitarian space because keeping humanitarian space is considered as major premise in order to bring assistance for the people who need aid. NGOs try to create humanitarian space by keeping neutrality, impartiality and clarify the difference with military force. Also, Red Cross describes the importance of having respect for international humanitarian law in situations of conflict (Collinson & Elhawary, 2012). Collinson and Elhawary mentions that humanitarian space has been declining since attacks on the US on 11 September 2001, and they emphasises the necessity of paying greater attention for humanitarian principles, especially impartiality, neutrality and independence in order to arrest this decline (2012). Following humanitarian low principals allows NGOs to show their attitude of fairness. For example, when a conflict happened between A and B, humanitarian NGOs will be required to provide assistance for both of them without any discrimination. Western agencies take these principals seriously, like they can claim to strictly uphold these principles in every circumstance (Perkin, 2006). Although many organisations, literatures and studies show the definitions of humanitarian space, humanitarian space does not have certain agreement and it can be changed depend on era or actor (Beauchamp, n.d.). But it can be said that seeing humanitarian low and its principal is still absolutely significant view when an organisation starts aid in the situation of conflict due to it may provide more safety for aid workers.


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