Monday, June 25, 2007

Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

During his last briefing to the Security Council on June 22nd the United Nations' Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs made crucial statements in regards the protection of civilians. During his remarks he touched on many crucial points relate to Human Security. Below an excerpt from his briefing:

" of civilians in armed conflict also has a particular significance in the work of humanitarian organizations and in the context of this Council’s responsibilities. For the Council, it represents a series of primary objectives outlined in your Aide Memoire, prepared at the request of and adopted by this Council, which aim to transform the security, political, legal and moral environment in which all concerned operate. These objectives include: security for displaced persons and host communities; ensuring access to those in need and a secure environment for humanitarian workers; strengthening the rule of law, in particular police and justice systems; protection of women and girls in particular from gender-based violence; involvement of women in decision-making and incorporating gender perspectives at every level and in all areas; ensuring the rights of children by preventing their recruitment, ending abduction, supporting family reunification and fulfillment of basic needs; action on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of soldiers: and finally, arms control, mine action, reconciliation and reconstruction programmes..."

Friday, June 15, 2007

iCare: A good idea for Humanitarian Coordination

After doing research about humanitarian coordination in Indonesia right after the 2004 Tsunami I learned how valuable it is to connect the needs of the people affected by disaster to the resources that are being offered. In that time I had what I thought would be a good idea: Why not creating an interactive system in which disaster donors and the people on the ground could connect? The idea is that the goods that are being delivered during the relief efforts would actually satisfy the needs of the individuals without what they call call in the humanitarian field duplication, or the ineffective delivery of relief supplies and services.

I thought that eventually my contribution to humanity would be implementing this idea in several years, but...Alas, this idea (like most ideas) was by no means exclusive, so it went also to the right brains. In this case right the brains were those of Anand Kulkarni and Ephrat Bitton. These two PhD students in the department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at UC Berkeley (USA) are developing this type of program which they have named iCare ( For more details on this initiative see:

Well, despite the fact that I wanted to run with this idea and develop it, in all honesty I am really happy that people with the resources and the talent would have come up with this type of initiative. I wish them the greatest success, and hopefully I will be able to contribute to iCare in the future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The resurgence of violence in Lebanon at the moment becomes one of the most vivid examples of the need to look at security at the human level. During the last few years the world has witnessed how the civilian population inside Lebanon has been caught between the fight of different political groups as well as states. for a better understanding of the conflict you can go to:

The most recent example of civilians caught in between two warring factions is the current crisis at the Palestinian refugee camps. The clashes between radical groups and government troops have caused civilian population to be displaced to nearby cities, however many remain inside the camps exposed to the heavy fire despite the efforts of the rescue teams from the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Lebanese Red Cross, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (See:

Sadly, two Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical volunteers were killed yesterday near Nahr el Bared refugee camp when a mortar shell (apparently fired from inside the camp) struck a their vehicle yesterday (see ).

Until last week the ICRC in coordination with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and other United Nations agencies has transported 144 wounded and 70 sick persons, as well as escorting 495 civilians from their respective camp. It has also organized 29 humanitarian convoys and assisted more in 250 families, who were driven by the fighting from their homes in Taamir, near Ain el-Hilweh, to Sidon.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Human Security

When dealing with International Security, people used to think in terms of threats of states vs. states. To put it simply, as if states were in a football league. When a crisis occurred, the incident could be monitored and studied like a game. For example, WWII could be studied as a match between two teams ("The Axis" vs. "The Allies"), or for instance the Cold War as a typical blue vs. red match between rivals.
Others have preferred to look at International Security from a broader perspective, (and if we were to apply the same sports analogy) the focus would not be so much in the teams, but actually studying the nature of the sport, which would symbolize the system or general conditions in which the states dwell. By applying this analogy we could pose questions like: Is a terrorist attack on the US delegation in Syria a single event sport like 100 meters or part of a combined discipline like decathlon that involves many other fields? OK, this last example is bit of a stretch and a bit overbearing, but my point is that there are different ways to look at international security, and each way will provide different insights on global threats.

Having said this, there are some of us who like to look at these issues not at the state or systemic level, but at a more Human Level. From this perspective, the one that counts the most is the individual; so if we were to follow the same sports theme, the main focus of this level would be not in the sport, nor in the teams, but in the athletes, even if they are engaged in a match or not. A Human Security approach would look at the threats that each member of the team face and try to find ways to eradicate them. In other words, the human lens on security would help us see how threats affect individuals within states and across the world directly. This emphasis allows us to see more clearly what we can do to help other humans build a wholesome life full of dignity and freedom, and hopefully help us become one great team instead of just simple spectators.

The purpose of this blog is to show the world how looking at security from the individual level can actually make a meaningful impact in the lives of others. To those of you that find this type of focus in security interesting or fascinating, I simply say...


I humbly invite you to share your comments and experience in Human Security initiatives around the world, and to also
adopt this type of initiative on your own.