Categories
Conflict

After Nine Years, Syria’s Conflict Has Only Become More Complicated

Image courtesy of Jodi Eastham/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on 12 March 2020.

The engagement of external actors has protracted the conflict and Syrians civilians continue to bear the brunt.


In March 2011, as the Arab world was roiled by demonstrations, protests broke out in Syria to demand political reform after four decades of Assad rule. Nine years later, the Assad regime is on the offensive against the last rebel stronghold of Idlib, with Russia, Turkey and Iran all heavily invested in the conflict. The humanitarian consequences for Syrians cannot be overstated and a political solution to the conflict seems as distant as ever. USIP’s Mona Yacoubian discusses the dreadful toll on the Syrian population and what the battle for Idlib means for the trajectory of the conflict.

Categories
Humanitarian Issues

Bold Action on the Path towards Localisation

Image courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by Saferworld on 19 August 2019.

To mark World Humanitarian Day, Saferworld’s Director of International Programmes, Susana Klien, looks at what it means to embark on bold reform of the humanitarian system, and explores how power can be shifted to those affected by conflict and crisis.  

One of my favourite Paulo Freire’s quotes says that “the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”

Categories
Humanitarian Issues Conflict

A People-Centered Approach to Conflict Resolution in Ukraine

Image courtesy of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 3 July 2019.

It’s rare to hear firsthand accounts of daily life amid the conflict in Donbass. But we do have a few. The photographer Paula Bronstein captured the broken bodies and tormented souls of elderly people. The documentary filmmaker Simon Lereng Wilmont shot the war through the eyes of a 10-year-old orphan boy living in a small village with “The Distant Barking of Dogs.” My colleague Ioulia Shukan, a French sociologist, keeps a blog on ordinary citizens affected by the war in Eastern Ukraine. She recounted the everyday life of three female villagers in the grey zone, their fear of shells and their cohabitation with soldiers. She also told the story of a young family that left the little Ukrainian town of Marinka — where there is still no heating and no drinking water — for the separatist-held city of Donetsk to escape immediate danger and precarious conditions. These Ukrainians’ stories highlight not only the human cost of the ongoing war, but also the perils of the Ukrainian government — and its Western partners — ignoring that cost.

Categories
Health CSS Blog

Communicating Effectively in Crises

Image courtesy of USAID/Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This article was originally published in the ETH Zukunftsblog on 15 January 2019.

To combat epidemics, the local population must be more involved and respected, says Ursula Jasper. This is one of the lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.

Categories
Humanitarian Issues

Myanmar’s Rohingya Suffer Under the Crisis in Humanitarianism

Image courtesy of AK Rockefeller/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the IPI Global Observatory on 20 September 2017.

As the United Nations General Assembly kicked off in New York this week, Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi—notably absent from the multilateral forum’s high-level session—finally spoke at length about the current crisis involving her country’s Rohingya ethnic minority. Suu Kyi’s national address on September 19, although condemning “all human rights violations and unlawful violence,” has done little to calm the critics who believe Myanmar’s leader is not doing nearly enough to acknowledge the dire humanitarian situation and help ensure that current challenges are overcome.

Three weeks into the current wave of violence that erupted in Rakhine State, reports continue to filter out, despite curbs on media access. These detail the Burmese army and Buddhist gangs directly targeting civilians, including perpetrating rapes and burning whole villages to the ground.