IHSA

The International Humanitarian Studies Association is a network engaged with the study of humanitarian crises caused by natural disaster, conflict or political instability.

International Humanitarian NGOs and State Relations

Author: Andrew J. Cunningham

International Humanitarian NGOs and State Relations: Politics, Principles and Identityexamines the often discordant relationship between states and international non-governmental organisations working in the humanitarian sector. INGOs aiming to provide assistance to populations suffering from the consequences of conflicts and other human-made disasters work in the midst of very politically sensitive local dynamics. The involvement of these non-political international actors can be seen as a threat to states that see civil war as a state of exception where it is the government’s prerogative to act outside ‘normal’ legal or moral boundaries. Drawing on first-hand experience of humanitarian operations in contexts of civil war, this book explores how the relationship works in practice and how often clashing priorities can be mediated.


Using case studies of civil conflicts in Sri Lanka, Darfur, Ethiopia and Chechnya, this practice-based book brings together key issues of politics, principles and identity to build a ‘negotiation structure’ for analysing and understanding the relationship. The book goes on to outline a research and policy development agenda for INGOs to better adapt politically to working with states.

International Humanitarian NGOs and State Relations will be a key resource for professionals and policy makers working within international humanitarian and development operations, as well as for academics and students within humanitarian and development studies who want to understand the relationship between states and humanitarian and multi-mandate organisations.

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