Paper: Humanitarians of the revolution - Politics and principles in grassroots medical humanitarianism in protest settings

Paper details

Paper authors Sophie Roborgh
In panel on Depoliticizing humanitarian action: motives, practices, consequences
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


This paper engages with the question of neutrality among grassroots medical humanitarians in protest environments. It explores medical volunteers’ conceptualisation of their engagement and the nature of their activities in numerous settings subjected to recent protests, including in Chile to Myanmar, Belarus, Sudan, and Hong Kong. The paper explains how volunteers reconcile their (often explicit) political support for the protesters and adherence to humanitarian and medical ethics, giving a new interpretation to the merging of politics and care provision in humanitarianism. This merger, which I have coined midani humanitarianism, after the field workers on the squares (Midan/Maidan), which are often the centre of protests, is recognisable across a wide array of settings in recent anti-government protests. In doing so, it elaborates the coming about of a humanitarian ethic that is developed from the ground up, with a more flexible approach towards the overt incorporation of politics within humanitarian practice.



Sophie Roborgh