Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, January 23, 2017 06:36:45 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Providing humanitarian aid during civil wars

By
08th-Jan-2017       Readers ( 89 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Jonathan Kennedy and Domna Michailidou :
In recent months, nongovernmental organizations and journalists have accused the United Nations of bias toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and failure to distribute humanitarian aid to rebel-controlled areas of Syria.
The UN does work closely with the Syrian government, and humanitarian aid has not consistently reached areas outside of government control. But the detractors overlook an inherent contradiction in the UN's responsibilities in countries facing civil war.
According to the UN Charter, one of the organization's purposes is to coordinate relief operations during and after disasters of a "humanitarian character" in which national authorities cannot cope on their own. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has overall responsibility for the UN's disaster-relief efforts, and its activities should be guided by the four principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
But the UN also has a mandate to respect its member states' sovereignty, which means that it must acknowledge an internationally recognized regime's authority over its territory and the people living there.
This is not an issue when countries are ruled by governments that have exclusive jurisdiction over their territory and a genuine concern for their citizens' welfare. But it becomes problematic when these conditions don't exist, such as in civil wars.
When militant groups capture territory within a country, it gives rise to a situation that the sociologist Charles Tilly called dual or multiple sovereignty.
The rebels, rather than the internationally recognized regime, become the de facto sovereigns of areas they control. This poses a challenge for the UN because of its twin mandates to deliver humanitarian aid impartially and to respect its member states' sovereignty.
The challenge becomes stark when an internationally recognized regime denies the UN permission to deliver humanitarian aid to opposition-controlled areas.
From the regime's perspective, the fear is that providing aid to these areas will sustain hostile communities, and could be perceived as acknowledging the rebels as de facto political leaders.
This civil-war scenario characterizes Syria. The Assad regime had lost control of vast swaths of territory within the Syrian Arab Republic's nominal borders, and it has little concern for the welfare of communities living in rebel-controlled territory, as evidenced by the Syrian Army's indiscriminate violence toward civilians in those areas.
And yet, despite the Assad regime's contempt for humanitarian norms, the UN still must obtain its permission to operate in rebel-controlled areas. In fact, the UN's Humanitarian Response Program for Syria stipulates that "the Government of Syria bears the primary responsibility for protecting its citizens."
In theory, the Syrian government allows humanitarian aid to be transported across the front lines from areas it controls to rebel-controlled territory. In practice, however, delivering aid has been extremely difficult, owing to ongoing fighting and bureaucratic obstacles put in place by the Syrian government.
The UN has very little power to influence the Syrian government's humanitarian-aid strategy, and if it openly defies the regime, it could lose permission to operate in the country at all. The UN has helped negotiate temporary ceasefires so that humanitarian-aid agencies can access besieged areas; UN agencies have quietly furnished local NGOs working in rebel-controlled areas with sorely needed supplies and technical advice; and the SC has passed resolutions to bypass the Syrian government and allow cross-border humanitarian-aid delivery. Accusations that the UN is biased toward the Assad regime are unfair, given the reality on the ground. The UN has no other option but to cooperate with the internationally recognized regime.
While the UN has worked to overcome these constraints, its efforts have been necessarily slow, reactive, and ad hoc. Worse still, its efforts were possible only because the humanitarian crisis deteriorated to such an extent that it could no longer be ignored.
Ideally, the international humanitarian-aid regime would more accurately reflect the political realities in countries afflicted by civil war, and the UN would be able to work with all parties that control territory.
One way to achieve this would be to revise the UN Charter so that it permits the organization to engage with de facto political leaders in rebel-controlled areas. The argument for making this change is especially strong in cases such as Syria, where the government has acted without concern for the wellbeing of communities living in rebel-controlled areas.
Another possibility would be to transfer responsibility for humanitarian aid in conflict zones to an NGO that is not under the same pressure to respect the sovereignty of internationally recognized regimes.
Such a change would be incongruous with the current system of international politics, which is based on the inviolability of nation-states. But surely delivering humanitarian aid to those who need it should be prioritized over the sovereignty of governments that do not respect the welfare of their citizens.

(Kennedy is a research associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Michailidou works for the Economics Department of the OECD).

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Sports »

Thailand`s Kititharak Jongkolpha (left) and Rawinda Prajongjai pose with their trophies after defeating Hong Kong pair Ying Suet and Poon Lok Yan in their women`s doubles final match at the Malaysia Masters badminton tournament in Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia on Sunday.


Editorial »

Sovereign Wealth Fund is good, question is safety


THE New Nation on Saturday reported that the Finance Ministry is planning to create the country's first ever sovereign wealth fund (SWF) to utilize the huge foreign currency reserve laying idle at Bangladesh Bank. The plan has come to the fore at a time when remittance inflow is on decline ...

Entertainment »

Sonakshi Sinha has a weird wish


Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha, who became a muse for designer Monisha Jaisingh’s Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017 show, says she would love to do an underwater fashion show someday. “There are so many things I still want to achieve. As for walking on the ramp, I am a water baby ...

Entertainment »

Razzak turns 76 today


Entertainment Report :Country’s one of the legendary film actors Razzak turns 76 today. Every year Channel i celebrate Razzak’s birthday in special way. The channel will air one-hour special programme from 12:00pm to celebrate the day. To be produced by Anonna Ruma and to be hosted by Dilruba Sathi Razzak ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina enjoying display of the students at the concluding ceremony of the sports competition of different schools and madrashas of the country at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the city on Sunday.


City »

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir speaking at a gossip organised for journalists, politicians and intellectuals by Zia Smrity Pathagar in the auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity on Sunday.


International »

Kremlin hopes for rapport with US, but differences will stay


AP, Moscow :Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman voiced hope for a constructive dialogue with President Donald Trump's administration in comments broadcast Saturday, but warned that differences will remain.Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with state Rossiya television that it would be an "illusion" to expect that U.S.-Russian relations would be ...

Sports »

Ageless Nadal outlasts teenager, Serena cruises


AFP, Melbourne :Rafael Nadal's ageing legs outlasted German teenager Alexander Zverev in an epic five sets as Serena Williams sailed into the last 16 at the Australian Open on Saturday.Nadal needed all his trademark grit against Zverev, 19, dubbed "the future of tennis", and his superior fitness told as he ...

Football »

Bangladesh National Women`s Football team accorded reception


Sports Reporter :Envoy Group accorded a reception to Bangladesh National Women's Football team at the conference room of Bangladesh Football Federation House on Saturday. Bangladesh National Women's Football team became runners-up in the SAFF Women's Championship at Siliguri in India on January 4. Bangladesh National Women's Football team lost to ...

Editorial »

America for America is not greatness


AS the world watches on, Mr Donald J. Trump as the new US President started rolling his make America great again policy in the very first day in office making the rest of the world feel all their anticipated fears coming into reality. His first executive order slashed parts of ...

Entertainment »

Priyanka Chopra slays on Jimmy Kimmel Live yet again!


After bagging her second consecutive People's Choice Award, Priyanka Chopra made her way back to the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, to promote Quantico. The show started off with Kimmel telling PeeCee how she smells so good, beginning the chitchat on a high and peppy note. When asked about New York ...

City »

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir speaking at a representative conference of Zia Parishad in the auditorium of the Engineers Institution in the city on Saturday.


International »

British foreign secretary `positive and optimistic` on Trump


AP, Yangon :British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says he's "positive and optimistic" that the policies of newly inaugurated President Donald Trump would work in Britain's favor.Johnson, who is visiting Myanmar, said Saturday he was "very optimistic" a trade deal could be done quickly with the new president, once Britain had ...

Editorial »

OIC must forge unity to assert its weight


THE meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday ended with the call of the 57-member body for strong UN intervention to end the humanitarian crisis. The communiqué adopted at the end of the meeting emphasized immediate halt of atrocities, unhindered humanitarian access, end to ...

Entertainment »

Alvi pairs up with Selim again


Entertainment Report :National Film Award winner actor Shahiduzzaman Selim and Lux star Alvi worked together in several numbers of faction plays and drama serials. Their acted a new serial is being aired in a satellite channel now. However, M Dulal is making a new serial titled Tout Plus to cast ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news