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

Related Publications

Suffering in Silence: The 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2018

The globe is scarred by violence and disasters. Yet, some crises receive less media coverage than others. The aim of this report is to highlight those crises that, though large, have received little public... Read more...


A new analytical framework for addressing the intersections of violence against women and girls with post-conflict statebuilding and peace-building processes

This brief presents an overview of a new analytical framework that explores the intersections of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and statebuilding and peace-building (SBPB) processes. This framework addresses the critical... Read more...


Intersections of violence against women and girls with state-building and peace-building: Lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan - Policy Brief

This brief presents findings from a ground-breaking study, conducted as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises programme funded by the UK government, that explores the... Read more...


Intersections of violence against women and girls with state-building and peace-building: Lessons from Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan

This study, conducted as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises programme funded by the UK government, explores how programmes and policies to prevent and respond to VAWG have... Read more...


Women and girls in emergencies

This report collects and summarises new data and evidence from reports and research on women and girls’ specific vulnerabilities in natural disasters and conflicts. It shows that disasters disproportionately affect women and girls and offers... Read more...


Dangerous ground: Syrian refugees face an uncertain future

This report warns that governments in Europe, the United States and the region are putting many lives at risk by closing borders and forcing Syrian refugees back to Syria, or openly discussing measures for... Read more...