Paper: How do humanitarian Organizations Define, Problematize and Integrate Vulnerable Groups

Paper details

Paper authors Hamed Seddighi, Carolin Funke, Dennis Dijkzeul
In panel on Disability Inclusion in Humanitarian Crises: Discourse, Implementation and Evidence
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


As the humanitarian landscape continually evolves, understanding the roles and intricacies of humanitarian organizations in defining and integrating vulnerable groups is critical for their effectiveness. This paper delves into the complexities of societal conceptions surrounding human diversity, focusing on how these groups are defined and the intricacies of determining vulnerability. The emphasis lies on children, elderly individuals, LGBTQI+ members, and persons with disabilities. The pivotal question explores the strategies, normative frameworks, and hurdles international institutions confront in addressing these vulnerabilities. Employing a qualitative approach, the research meticulously scrutinizes documents from 2010-2022 of prominent humanitarian entities within the UN's cluster system. Findings illuminate that while international conventions create foundational protection blueprints for these groups, representation inconsistencies persist. The LGBTQI+ demographic, despite periodic inclusions in international benchmarks, is devoid of a specific convention. In conclusion, the study accentuates the urgent requirement for an intersectional lens in humanitarian crises, championing participatory methodologies that prioritize prevention, readiness, and all-encompassing decision-making processes. The paper culminates with suggestions for comprehensive humanitarian initiatives and potential future research domains.