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.