Reconsidering the humanitarian space : complex interdependence between humanitarian and peace negotiations in Syria
Host item entries:
Contemporary security policy, 2020, 23 p.
Bibliography : p. 18-23
Humanitarian agencies working in violent conflicts often insist on separating humanitarian negotiations from political mediation efforts. However, many academics and practitioners also wonder if humanitarian negotiations can really be apolitical and disentangled from peace negotiations. Using the case study of Syria, the article analyzes the interactions between humanitarian negotiations and international peace negotiations. By considering various actors involved in Syria and the different arenas of negotiations (mainly the Astana talks and the United Nations negotiations led by the Special Envoy), it demonstrates that humanitarian and peace negotiations are govered by a complex interdependence. A dual process of politicization of humanitarian action and 'humanitarization' of political negotiations is at work, in a Syrian context characterized by a fragmented and controversial humanitarian space. This article is based on unique data from participant observation during four international meetings bringing together humanitarian practitioners from different organizations and political actors.