Humanitarian Assistance Dilemmas

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Introduction

According to the Global Humanitarian Assistance Website humanitarian aid refers to action designated to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies.[1] It is mostly done by International Organizations such as the United Nations, European Union and Red Cross. They are constituted by several countries coming together and forming laws to govern certain issues that affect them. They then sign agreements to abide by the set laws when the issues arise in the individual countries. An example of international laws is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that has been ratified by most countries to protect the sea.  There has been a long history of humanitarian work done by Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), “either alleviating the suffering of civilians in times of conflict, or offering vital relief to those affected by natural disasters.”[2]

International Organizations step in to help during natural calamities such as earthquake and tsunamis and wars that cause havoc to the lives and economies of a country. An example of cases where international organizations such as the Red Cross are engaged in humanitarian work is in providing relief services to developing countries experiencing famine such as the northern parts of Kenya. In addition, in countries experiencing civil strife and conflicts, organizations such as the United Nations step in to foster peace among the conflicting communities by providing resources for peacekeeping in those countries. This has been experienced in Sudan, Somalia and Congo among other countries that have been experiencing conflicts. The United Nations has been successful in fostering peace in Mozambique, Namibia and several other countries that had been experiencing conflicts due to bad leadership. They enable them to transition to leadership that is democratically accepted in the affected countries. There are several ways in which International Organizations has been effective in providing humanitarian assistance to countries that need it.

Effectiveness of International Organizations in Providing Humanitarian Organizations

Although institutionalists are united in their opposition to realist claims about institutions, each institutionalist theory makes a different argument about how institutions work to alter state behavior.[3] International Organizations provide help by fostering negotiations among conflicting groups and reducing the time taken to settle dispute.[4] They do this by enforcing the agreements that were ratified by the country. In countries that have ongoing wars regarding resource use within the country or major differences between groups on the leaders ruling the country, the IOs especially the United Nations sends their leaders to help the two groups to come up with a viable agreement on how the leadership issue will be managed in the country. In most cases, once these officials become involved, both parties are able to express themselves and articulate their issues thereby enabling them come up with a viable decision. The IO provides the security required to facilitate the peace negotiations and oversee the change in government in the country. It acts as a neutral member between the two groups thereby speeding up the process of negotiation. This helps the people living in the country by ending the conflict and thereby improving their situation faster. This reduces the amount of obliteration that will be suffered in the country and hence will further speed up its recovery process. They also provide food, shelter and other needs for those affected by the situation and help them get a new start. An example is because many IOs are formed with the express purpose of procuring peace, institutional membership should lead to shorter disputes between their members.[5] Countries that have ratified the agreements made by IO have to abide by them and therefore benefit from help in dealing in conflicts affecting them. An example of a country which is on its way to full recovery is Rwanda where many innocent people died during the massacre. However, once international organizations intervened, they were able to stop the atrocious events and save the remaining people and help them recover. In this case, the IO helped in fostering negotiations and settling the dispute.

International organizations also help in fighting for justice for those whose rights were infringed during strife. This is especially common during civil wars within a country where many people lose their lives and property. The International Organizations such as the International Criminal Courts provide humanitarian assistance to the victims in such situations by ensuring justice is served. They carry out investigations in the affected country and determine the perpetrators of such acts and prosecuting them on behalf of the victims. It enables them move forward and gain closure from the events that have affected them. This means civilian and military leaders can be held responsible for their acts of commission and omission that results in crimes against humanity, whether genocide, war crimes or the broader umbrella of works, including torture and overthrowing of governments, consistent with crimes against humanity.[6] An example of a situation where the ICC has intervened to provide justice is in the prosecution of  Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the Democratic Republic of Congo who was accused of war crimes and using underage children in war who was declared guilty for committing the crimes[7]. Ongoing trials include the trials of four suspects for crimes committed during the post election violence that occurred in the country in 2008. An ICC warrant of arrest for the arrest and prosecution and Ahmad Harun identified him as having served as Minister of State for the Interior from April 2003 to about September 2005 during which he was ‘in charge of the management of the Darfur Security Desk’ thereby coordinating the different bodies of the environment involved in the counter-insurgency including the police, the armed forces, the National Security and Intelligence and the militia.[8]The ICC provides an independent justice system for all the countries ratified to the law that led to its formation. This ensures that issues such as corruption do not hinder the victims from getting justice and has been effective in doing this in the above cases.

International Organizations such as Red Cross society are very crucial in the response to disaster and providing humanitarian assistance. They provide food, water, clothing, shelter and medical supplies and help to the victims. Their major role is in saving the lives of those involved in such situations especially the natural ones, such as earthquakes and famine. Most countries have a Red Cross office which allows them to respond in term in case of a disaster. Natural calamities and war lead to displacement of people and loss of property hence they need assistance in getting forward and reverting the disaster. An example of a successful situation where the Red Cross society helped in alleviating human suffering is in the Hurricane Katrina where they worked together with the United States government to provide the victims with food, shelter and clothes and well as mediation required. Thes.............


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