Politicisation of humanitarian aid: towards an advocacy strategy

Humanitarian agencies are experiencing unprecedented threats and dilemmas in their work.

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular have led some to identify a new ‘politicisation’ of aid.

Aid workers in both places have died in unprecedented numbers; coalition armies have used humanitarian assistance as both a tactic to win hearts and minds, and as a reward for intelligence gathering and cooperation.

The use of the word political is wide of the mark, however.

Humanitarian agencies are themselves political; humanitarianism has never been as political as in the last decade with its radical calls for military intervention to prevent and contain conflict.

  • Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Global
  • Published: December 2004

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