LSE - Small Logo
LSE - Small Logo

Dipa Patel20

February 26th, 2018

Mapping the Critique of Humanitarian Principles

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Dipa Patel20

February 26th, 2018

Mapping the Critique of Humanitarian Principles

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

On the Thursday 15 February, Stuart Gordon, gave a keynote paper at a conference in the Hague on the impact of counter-terrorist financing legislation on the humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis.  The conference was organised by the World Bank, the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the Human Security Collective – a Dutch NGO based in the Hague.

The paper took an original approach to the risks facing humanitarian institutions working in conflict.  Rather than those emanating from armed actors it turned attention to the global financial system.  States have passed legislation that co-opts financial institutions into quasi-regulatory roles but profound uncertainty about how these new counter terrorist financing (CTF) laws should be interpreted, soaring regulatory fines imposed on banks for breaching the rules, combined with statements and directives from national and international regulatory bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) identifying the not-for-profit sector generally as particularly vulnerable to abuse by terrorists, has established within the financial sector a global pattern of risk aversion to this type of business. This is labelled as ‘de-risking.’  This is impacting seriously on the operations of humanitarian organisations and brings into question the continuing viability of core humanitarian principles, predicated on access based solely on need. Stuart’s paper considered how ‘risk management’ in response to these pressures permeates the governance and rationalities of humanitarian institutions and, crucially, how it intrudes on humanitarian programming and the resulting patterns of emergency assistance coverage – leaving already vulnerable populations further exposed.

Stuart Gordon & Antonio Donini, (2016) ‘Romancing the Principles – Mapping the Critique of Humanitarian PrinciplesInternational Review of the Red Cross, Cambridge University Press, Volume 96; Issue 895 (Mapping the Principles of Humanitarianism)


Dr Stuart Gordon, Programme Director for the MSc International Development & Humanitarian Emergencies (IDHE). 

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

About the author

Dipa Patel20

Posted In: Featured | Publications | Topical and Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RSS Justice and Security Research Programme

  • JSRP and the future
    The JSRP drew to a close in 2017 but many of the researchers and partners involved in the programme continue to work on the issues and theories developed during the lifetime of the programme. Tim Allen now directs the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) at LSE where many of the JSRP research team working […]
  • Life after the LRA
    The JSRP reached the end of its grant in spring 2017 but several outputs from the programme are scheduled for publication in the coming months. The most recent of these is a new journal article from Holly Porter and Letha Victor drawing on their extensive research with JSRP in the Acholi region of northern Uganda.  The […]

RSS LSE’s engagement with South Asia

  • Women’s Rights and Education under the Taliban
    The recent and dramatic takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021, coupled with the complete collapse of all civilian governmental presence in the country has introduced a new age of uncertainty for the country. The status of girls & women is especially challenged, confronted as they are with Taliban-interpreted ‘Islamic’ societal mores, as […]
  • How India’s tilted Foreign Policy paved China’s road to South Asia
    This post by Tarushi Aswani examines India’s relationship with fellow South Asian countries, and how recent foreign policy initiatives may have rendered the largest democracy in the world ‘friendless’ in its South Asian neighbourhood, paving the way further for China to make inroads into South Asia.   While Covid-19 might have rekindled SAARC members’ relationships […]