Thursday, January 23, 2003
In an Alertnet "viewpoint article written by Larry Minear, director of the Humanitarianism + War Project at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Larry argues that humanitarian agencies should lay down the conditions under which they are prepared to become involved in aid activities during or after an eventual war in Iraq.
U.N. agencies are estimating that some 10 million Iraqi civilians may require emergency assistance and Larry argues that;
"Despite financial incentives to join the fray, humanitarian organisations have ample reason to fear that an aid effort which is simply an extension of a political-military agenda will cut them off from reaching many of those in urgent need.
Perhaps it is time for a radical approach. Humanitarian agencies that resist being taken for granted should stipulate the conditions under which they are prepared to become involved in aid activities during or after an eventual war.
Rather than politicising humanitarian action, their initiative would underscore the importance of maintaining their neutrality and independence."
On a related theme I recommend Tony Vaux's book the Selfish Altruist which outlines the need for neutrality, co-operation + honesty among those providing humanitarian assistance. Tony has experience as an emergency relief co-ordinator in Kosovo, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Afghanistan + Azerbaijan. and in a far-reaching and unflinching account outlines the conflicts between subjective impulses + objective judgment. Describing and analyzing some of the most traumatic crisis situations of the last two decades, he helps the reader to understand what it takes to be an aid worker and how important humanitarian action is today... It's a compelling read!
You can listen to a talk given by Tony at the Oxford Earth Summit entitled "Selfish altruism and non-economic development" by clicking on this link...
Posted 11:25 am by Matt Prescott