Principled Aid in SyriaA Framework for International Agencies

Haid Haid, (2019)

Research Paper. As the fighting in Syria winds down, international humanitarian organisations (IHOs) operating from Damascus are hopeful that the Syrian government’s interference in their work will decrease. However, the government is attempting to formalise its influence over humanitarian operations. Throughout the Syrian conflict, the government has imposed multiple administrative processes on humanitarian organisations to limit their ability to operate independently. This includes restricting the operational environment; undermining organisational independence; imposing local partners; influencing procurement procedures; and preventing direct monitoring and evaluation. While some level of coordination with the government might be a pragmatic necessity to ensure the safety of operations in regime-controlled areas, this cooperation should not enable the government to use aid for military or political purposes. Consequently, international humanitarian organisations have an ethical dilemma in how they provide aid in these areas without undermining their principles of humanity, independence, impartiality and neutrality.

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