13 Jun 2012 | 13:52
New articles added to the EISF security resources library discuss two recurring issues of civil-military interaction and the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on humanitarian response.
The first, a working paper from the Humanitarian Policy Group project on 'Civil-Military Coordination: The Search for Common Ground' provides an overview of existing literature on the functioning of humanitarian civil-military coordination in practice.
The paper begins by considering overarching trends and challenges in the civil-military relationship, including the increased military engagement in humanitarian missions, and finds a lack of analysis of the effects which the changing nature of conflict has had on this relationship. This is then examined with more specific reference to disaster or civil-protection contexts, before some conclusions are drawn on how this coordination of civil-military action could be improved.
One criticism made is that existing literature addresses primarily the principles of civil-military interaction, rather than the practical solutions for improving access to populations in need. The same issue is identified in the operational context - whilst aid agencies often concentrate on the ideological differences between civil and military interventions, more productive might be to ‘constructively [identify] where there is or can be complementarity, and accepting where this is not possible’.
Suggestions for improved interaction, drawn from examples of more successful cooperation, include:
In addition, the paper identifies an urgent need for the humanitarian community as a whole to develop an improved understanding of the principles of civil-military interaction. Particular guidance is needed on information-sharing, the principle of last resort and the ways in which interactions will be distinct according to the context or the military force involved e.g. disaster or conflict, UN, foreign troops or national military. The paper can be downloaded here.
Further resources can be found:
In the Civil-Military section of the EISF Security Library
Under Civil-military interaction on the links page
The second report, published by the Charity and Security Network calls for greater reconciliation between US counterterrorism measures (CTMs) and the international humanitarian obligations of the US.
The report discusses the challenges to humanitarian action posed by CTMs, but also goes beyond this. It argues that, when applied to aid agencies, counterterrorism legislation constitutes a violation of international humanitarian obligations of the US, particularly because:
Safeguarding Humanitarianism in Armed Conflict: A Call for Reconciling International Legal Obligations and Counterterrorism Measures in the United States is available here.
The report relates to a similar brief published in 2011 by the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI. Counter Terrorism and Humanitarian Action also highlighted the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the work of humanitarian organisations. The Policy Brief considers the effect of legislation which can restrict access to vulnerable populations, criminalise humanitarian action, and contradict humanitarian principles.
EISF Alert: Counter Terrorism Legislation: the Impact on Humanitarian NGOs and New Development
Unintended Roadblocks: How U.S. Terrorism Restrictions Make It Harder to Save Lives
This paper looks specifically into the U.S. counter-terrorism measures and its impact on the operations of U.S. funded humanitarian organisations.
Assessing the Implications of Counter-Terrorism Measures for Non-Governmental Organisations
International NGO Training and Research Centre
The article argues that INGOs working with local partners could accidentally violate counter-terrorism measures, and suggests measures to reduce the risk of doing so.
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