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The panel will examine the relationship between states and humanitarian international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) against the background of civil war and political instability.
This relationship is established as two sets of norms in tension: The moral as represented and made operational by humanitarian INGOs and the political as articulated and practiced by states. The negotiation between the actors is informed by political considerations—the designation of friends and enemies, and in the prerogative of sovereign actors to determine that a state of exception exists, where action outside normal rules may be contemplated. A state will attempt to mitigate against perceived threats through a process of securitisation—determining that an INGO is a threat and must be controlled. INGOs, once securitised, have several response options, such as withdrawal, accommodation, or desecuritisation. To select the best option INGOs must be able to properly interpret a state’s action and discourse. The concepts which tie together the relation are principles, politics, and identities.
The panel should bring together academics, humanitarian practitioners, and representatives of states to discuss how to move forward. In a securitised context, how can states and humanitarian INGOs better develop their relationship? Papers and thoughts responding to this theme are welcome.