Category Archives: Issue 5 – July 2017

The ethics of care versus humanitarian exceptionalism

Arnaud Dandoy • Faculté de Droit et des Sciences économiques de l’université d’État d’Haïti

A. Dandoy

What if we say that humanitarian workers themselves arouse the hostility they sometimes face because of the symbolic and socially dominant relationships they maintain with their local personnel? This is the hypothesis, drawn from his own study, that Arnaud Dandoy, doctor of criminology, has developed here. While the author praises the virtues of the ethics of care over those of Kantian ethics, this is not a basic philosophical exercise, buta prerequisite for a better understanding of the widening gap between humanitarian workers and local populations.

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Sub-Saharan Africa: worrying clouds on the horizon

Serge Michailof • Chercheur associé à l’IRIS (Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques)

S. Michailof

Having long been condemned to pessimism, Africa has unquestionably picked itself up, confronting considerable challenges – such as the recent Ebola crisis –, displaying encouraging economic growth and exporting its numerous talents. On the threshold of the 21st century, a wave of Afro-optimism gradually developed. Did we go too far, too quickly down this road? This is the theory of Serge Michailof, economist, former top level manager at the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD), venturing a parallel with Afghanistan, another “humanitarian land” in the 1980s. Tending more towards Afro-realism, the author invites us to take stock of the perils which the continent will have to face, as well as the means it has at it disposal to overcome them.

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Humanitarian aid as a deterrent in Greece

Arjun Claire • Humanitarian Affairs consultant   

A. Claire

Humanitarian aid has often been instrumentalised by States. But more recently, it may have been employed as a tool to manage the “refugee crisis” in Europe’s frontline Member States. Taking Greece as a reference, the author contends that humanitarian aid may not only be an instrument to address the consequences of EU’s restrictive migration policies, but could even be a component of a broader strategy to deter further arrivals to European shores. He argues that the emergency in Greece is a construct, which legitimises the presence of humanitarian actors, and by extension, validates the existence of substandard living conditions. Their disengagement being difficult to envisage, Arjun Claire proposes that humanitarian actors must mitigate the consequences of their implication by actively resisting attempts towards the sustenance of a discursive emergency.

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Sheltering, hosting or receiving refugees: the unresolved ambiguities of the La Linière refugee camp

Franck Esnée • Ancien chef de mission Médecins Sans Frontières en France   
Michaël Neuman • Directeur d’études, Centre de réflexion sur l’action et les savoirs humanitaires (Crash)/Médecins Sans Frontières   

F. Esnée

M. Neuman

Frank Esnée and Michaël Neuman invite us here to follow up on previous work. The latter and Angélique Muller already wrote an article about the social and political actors of Grande-Synthe and its refugee settlement, Basroch. Following the dismantlement of this camp and the resettlement of refugees in the new La Linière camp, in the spring 2016, the authors look back on a year of hesitations or even inconsistencies, which say a lot about our relationship to the refugees.

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The challenges of humanitarian transition in Africa

Virginie Troit et Jean-François Mattei • Déléguée générale et président du Fonds Croix-Rouge française   

V. Troit

J.-F. Mattei

Modern humanitarian aid took shape and formulated its vision on European battlefields with the creation of the Red Cross. Almost a century later, in the 1960s, international aid, which was finishing its mission of European reconstruction, turned to Africa and the Third World. Development NGOs, national development aid agencies, and different programmes and funds of the United Nations increasingly staged massive interventions throughout a continent which was in search of independence, torn between Cold War logics of alignment. Since then, humanitarian aid has been inextricably linked to Africa, whilst the latter’s relation to humanitarian aid has never ceased to grow, transform and question itself in a context of globalisation where everyone’s place needs to be constantly redefined. States, NGOs, international institutions, civil society, religious organisations, the media and the private sector have therefore learned to interact, to oppose each other, to form alliances or to accept the challenge of crises – be they political, climate or health-based, economic or social – which decimate or affect millions of people held in hostage. Africa ended up embodying the image of the “humanitarian continent”.

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Senegal: The difficulty for NGOs to gain independence from the State

Sadio Ba Gning et Kelly Poulet • Docteures en sociologie

S. Ba Gning

K. Poulet

Taking the example of Congad, the Council of Non-Governmental Organisations for Development Support in Senegal, two young researchers help us to understand the difficulties that African NGOs encounter in trying to gain independence from the State.

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The impact of international proceedings for bypassing the State: the example of Madagascar

Christiane Rafidinarivo • Sciences Po Paris/Institut d’Études politiques de Madagascar/Université de La Réunion

C. Rafidinarivo

Madagascar was severely hit by a protracted political and diplomatic crisis triggered by the 2009 military coup. The transitional government, in power until 2014, was unable to prevent the State from being bypassed and its humanitarian sovereignty from being transferred to international actors. This has done nothing to improve the situation of a country which is among the world’s Least Advanced, ranked the third most vulnerable to climate hazards, behind Bangladesh and India (and the first in Africa) and the second most food-insecure in 2014. Christiane Rafidinarivo explains the mechanisms put in place by these actors between 2009 and 2014, and which are still applied today. She provides a comparative analysis in order to draw political and diplomatic lessons for African countries…

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