Armed non-state actors and humanitarian action

Panel details

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Number of paper presentations 4


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Contemporary armed conflicts invariably involve non-state armed groups (hereafter, armed groups). This has important implications for the international humanitarian agencies working to protect and assist people in the midst of these conflicts. There is broad consensus among the major international humanitarian agencies on the need to engage with armed groups, both for purposes of negotiating access to the populations they seek to assist, and in seeking to improve the conduct of armed actors, in particular in relation to the protection of civilians. It is also widely agreed that such engagement is limited in practice, although there is relatively little in the way of systematic analysis of how international humanitarian agencies engage with armed groups. Moreover, there is little explicit attention to the question of why such engagement is limited. This panel invites papers that address either of these two questions. Papers could be narrow (e.g. focusing on the engagement of a single aid agency with a single armed group) or broad in scope, and analysis of both historic and current engagement would be welcome.

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