Publications

    Abdulrazzaq Al-Saiedi, Kevin Coughlin, Muslih Irwani, Waad Ibrahim Khalil, Phuong Pham, and Patrick Vinck. 6/2020. “English Version: "Never Forget: Views on Peace and Justice Within Conflict-Affected Communities in Northern Iraq"”.Abstract

    This survey offers a snapshot of the perceptions and attitudes about peace and justice within communities affected by the conflict with the Islamic State (IS). It is based on 5,213 interviews conducted in 2019 among a representative sample of internally displaced persons in northern Iraq and residents of the city of Mosul and surrounding areas.The research documents a severe lack of trust in official institutions, particularly in the Government of Iraq itself, stemming in large part from the belief that these institutions do not act in the best interest of the population. Few respondents had confidence in the Government of Iraq’s ability to investigate the crimes committed by the Islamic State fairly and accurately and to provide justice to survivors of the conflict.Despite the mistrust, respondents favor local justice and truth-seeking mechanisms. They view these efforts as necessary to build a durable peace, alongside measures to address the root causes of the rise of IS and longstanding divisions between the people of Iraq. However, rather than the challenge being diversity itself, the challenge is the Government of Iraq’s ability to promote and facilitate reconciliation and unity.Without an accountable government that is perceived to be legitimate and is trusted by all Iraqis, calls for justice and accountability may go unanswered, and the country risks slipping back into another conflict.

    The research was conducted by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in partnership with Mosul University and the Iraq-based Public Policy Institute. It was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, which played no role in the design, analysis or publication of the research.

    Abdulrazzaq Al-Saiedi, Kevin Coughlin, Muslih Irwani, Waad Ibrahim Khalil, Phuong Pham, and Patrick Vinck. 6/2020. “الترجمة العربية (Arabic Version): "Never Forget: Views on Peace and Justice Within Conflict-Affected Communities in Northern Iraq"”.Abstract

    This survey offers a snapshot of the perceptions and attitudes about peace and justice within communities affected by the conflict with the Islamic State (IS). It is based on 5,213 interviews conducted in 2019 among a representative sample of internally displaced persons in northern Iraq and residents of the city of Mosul and surrounding areas.The research documents a severe lack of trust in official institutions, particularly in the Government of Iraq itself, stemming in large part from the belief that these institutions do not act in the best interest of the population. Few respondents had confidence in the Government of Iraq’s ability to investigate the crimes committed by the Islamic State fairly and accurately and to provide justice to survivors of the conflict.Despite the mistrust, respondents favor local justice and truth-seeking mechanisms. They view these efforts as necessary to build a durable peace, alongside measures to address the root causes of the rise of IS and longstanding divisions between the people of Iraq. However, rather than the challenge being diversity itself, the challenge is the Government of Iraq’s ability to promote and facilitate reconciliation and unity.Without an accountable government that is perceived to be legitimate and is trusted by all Iraqis, calls for justice and accountability may go unanswered, and the country risks slipping back into another conflict.

    The research was conducted by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in partnership with Mosul University and the Iraq-based Public Policy Institute. It was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, which played no role in the design, analysis or publication of the research.

    Signal Program. 3/2020. Displacement & Destruction: Analysis of Idlib, Syria 2017-2020.Abstract
    As the Syrian civil war enters its tenth year on  March 15, the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology conducted satellite imagery analysis to capture the rapid expansion of displaced people’s camps and the widespread impact of aerial bombardment in Idlib, Syria. This work was completed in collaboration with Save the Children and World Vision International. On 1 March 2020, the UN estimated that 961,286 individuals have been displaced since December 1, 2019; this is the largest mass displacement and acute humanitarian crisis since the  Syrian conflict began in 2012. Analyzing two internally displaced person (IDP) camps, the Signal team found that the camp areas analyzed increased by approximately 100% and 177% respectively between September 2017 and February 2020. Camp growth between December 2019 and 2020 revealed new structures and further construction, consistent with a significant influx of displaced persons.  The UN Human Rights Council reports that between May 2019 and January 2020, aerial bombardment and a surge of ground-level assaults contributed to a wave of IDPs throughout Idlib as civilian areas were repeatedly targeted. Signal’s analysis of two areas in conflict-affected towns in southern Idlib found that approximately 30% of structures were damaged; this figure likely underestimates the total damage.
    Emmanuel Tronc and Anaïde Nahikian. 12/2018. Fragile Future: The human cost of conflict in Afghanistan. Read PublicationAbstract
    This context analysis examines the humanitarian, political, societal, and economic dimensions that make the protracted conflict in Afghanistan intractable and precarious for civilian populations. The report is based on field visits to numerous regions in Afghanistan in July 2018 — which included interviews and consultations with a variety of actors, including political stakeholders, humanitarian agencies, and populations affected by conflict — as well as a review of recent and relevant literature. The purpose of this analysis is to (1) provide a current assessment of the conflict, drawing from field interviews and an in- depth assemblage of various reports and resources, (2) examine the interconnected and interdependent interests fueling the conflict, and (3) suggest that if these dynamics persist in the way they have for decades, recent elections and peace talks will represent yet another setback for Afghan communities and a peaceful future for the country.
    Phuong Pham, Vandana Sharma, Rebecca Hémono, Jessica Jean-Francois, and Jennifer Scott. 5/2018. DEPP Evaluation Summative Phase Report.Abstract
    This report provides the summative results from the three-year external impact evaluation of the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) conducted by a team at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). The DEPP was a £40 million programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) that aimed to strengthen skills and capacity and improve the quality and speed of humanitarian response in countries that are at risk of natural disasters or emergencies.
    Phuong Pham, Vandana Sharma, Rebecca Hémono, Jessica Jean-Francois, and Jennifer Scott. 5/2018. DEPP Evaluation Summative Phase Report Annexes.Abstract

    This report provides the summative results from the three-year external impact evaluation of the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) conducted by a team at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). The DEPP was a £40 million programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) that aimed to strengthen skills and capacity and improve the quality and speed of humanitarian response in countries that are at risk of natural disasters or emergencies.

    This document provides the annexes of the report. 

    Mark Latonero, Danielle Poole, and Jos Berens. 3/2018. Refugee Connectivity: A Survey of Mobile Phones, Mental Health, and Privacy at a Syrian Refugee Camp in Greece.Abstract
    The report, Refugee Connectivity: A Survey of Mobile Phones, Mental Health, and Privacy at a Syrian Refugee Camp in Greece, is the result of 2017 field research by Data & Society, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s (HHI) Signal Program on Human Security and Technology, and Centre for Innovation at Leiden University. Lead authors of the report are Mark Latonero, Ph.D. of Data & Society, Danielle Poole of HHI/Signal and the Harvard School of Public Health, and Jos Berens, formerly of Leiden University. 
    Susan Andrea Bartels, Saja Michael, Sophie Roupetz, Stephanie Garbern, Lama Kilzar, Harveen Bergquist, Nour Bakhache, Colleen Davison, and Annie Bunting. 1/2018. “Making sense of child, early and forced marriage among Syrian refugee girls: a mixed methods study in Lebanon.” BMJ Global Health, 3, 1. Read PublicationAbstract

    The Syrian conflict has resulted in over 2.3 million child refugees in the Middle East and the prevalence of early marriage has reportedly increased among displaced Syrian families. This study explores the underlying factors contributing to child marriage among Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the goal of informing community-based strategies to address the issue.

    In July–August 2016, trained interviewers collected self-interpreted stories in Lebanon using Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker, a mixed-method data collection tool. Participants included married and unmarried Syrian girls, Syrian parents as well as married and unmarried men. Each participant shared a story about the experiences of Syrian girls and then interpreted the story by plotting their perspectives on a variety of questions. Patterns in the responses were analysed in SPSS and the accompanying qualitative narratives were reviewed to facilitate interpretation of the quantitative results.

    10/2016. “Declaration from Academic Humanitarian Training Centers on Syria”.Abstract
    Given the current humanitarian crisis in Syria where patients, healthcare workers, and hospitals are under attack, we the undersigned, without presumption of authority or judgment, stand in solidarity with our healthcare colleagues and declare their right to international health neutrality. For many decades, we have provided global healthcare professionals with education and training in humanitarian assistance in sudden onset disasters and conflicts worldwide. In this training and education, each and every healthcare provider, both civilian and military, is made aware of the inherent protections provided to them under international humanitarian law (IHL), including the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as the principles and rules of IHL applicable to the conduct of hostilities, including the targeting of hospitals and medical facilities. These must be upheld. 
    Brett D. Nelson, Michael VanRooyen, Maya Fehling, Margaret E. Tiernan, Zina Maan Jarrah, Saeed Albezreh, Narra Martineau, and Abdulmohsen Alhokair. 1/2015. Examining the needs of at-risk youth in the Middle East and North Africa: A multi-method landscape analysis and systematic literature review.Abstract
    Opportunities for youth can be severely limited among many communities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that are disrupted by conflict or impoverishment. Recent political and economic factors, as well as a rapidly growing youth population, have greatly increased the vulnerability of at-risk youth in the MENA region. This HHI study utilized a multi-method approach -- including systematic reviews of the peer-reviewed and gray literatures, stakeholder analyses, and in-region discussions with youth and stakeholders -- to identify the current needs, activities, stakeholders, and opportunities related to at-risk youth in the MENA region. It is our hope that this initial report and its recommendations will be a starting point of discussion and collaboration as we develop a cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional Middle East Youth in Crisis Project based at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
    Adam Khalifa. 6/2014. “Cancer in refugees in Jordan and Syria between 2009 and 2012: challenges and the way forward in humanitarian emergencies.” The Lancet Oncology, 15, 7, Pp. E290-E297. Read PublicationAbstract

    Treatment of non-communicable diseases such as cancer in refugees is neglected in low-income and middle-income countries, but is of increasing importance because the number of refugees is growing. The UNHCR, through exceptional care committees (ECCs), has developed standard operating procedures to address expensive medical treatment for refugees in host countries, to decide on eligibility and amount of payment. We present data from funding applications for cancer treatments for refugees in Jordan between 2010 and 2012, and in Syria between 2009 and 2011. Cancer in refugees causes a substantial burden on the health systems of the host countries. Recommendations to improve prevention and treatment include improvement of health systems through standard operating procedures and innovative financing schemes, balance of primary and emergency care with expensive referral care, development of electronic cancer registries, and securement of sustainable funding sources. Analysis of cancer care in low-income refugee settings, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, is needed to inform future responses.

    Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 1/2014. Harvard Field Study Non-Paper on Syrian Refugees .Abstract

    The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over the recent years, prompting record-high levels of international aid. In view of the complexity of the political and social environment in which these challenges arise and the historical scale of the population affected, innovative and creative programmatic responses are essential to address the short and middle-term needs of refugees and reducing instability in the Middle East region.

    Claude Bruderlein and Rob Grace. 1/2013. Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding in Bahrain and Syria During the Arab Spring.Abstract

    The way in which international actors implement monitoring, reporting, and fact finding (MRF) mechanisms is changing. Modern MRF mechanisms date back to 1913, when, after the Balkans had erupted in war for the second time in two years, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace initiated a commission to investigate potential violations of international law. But the Carnegie Endowment did not begin its work until fighting had ceased, believing, as the mission’s final report notes, that a mission initiated before the conflict’s conclusion would be “premature.” In contrast, almost a century later, as massive protests erupted in numerous autocratic Arab countries in 2011, international actors felt no need to hesitate. Instead, MRF actors initiated MRF missions to examine potential violations of international law in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Bahrain, all contexts in which violent conflicts continued to unfurl, as well as Tunisia and Egypt, where massive protests had recently led to transfers of political power. These missions represent a trend in the world of MRF toward more rapid deployment.

     

    Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 6/2012. Countering Terror in Humanitarian Crises: The Challenges of Delivering Aid to Somalia.Abstract

    In the post-9/11 era, humanitarian organizations face a growing dilemma regarding access to vulnerable groups in internal conflicts. On the one hand, international actors have increasingly recognized the importance of engaging with non-state armed groups (NSAGs) to ensure the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance in crisis-affected territories. On the other hand, in recent years, political and policy actors operating at domestic, regional, and international levels have pursued security policies and enacted laws geared toward curbing relationships with NSAGs accused of executing acts of terrorism.

    Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 8/2010. The Implications of Bassiouni v. Prime Minister for Humanitarian Professionals in Gaza.Abstract
    This brief will explore the legal implications of Bassiouni v. Prime Minister. Arguments derived from occupation law are not within the scope of this brief because the brief assumes for the sake of argument that the decision was decidedly correctly in that regard. For more on the debate as to whether Gaza is occupied, please see HPCR’s September 2008 policy brief, “Occupation, armed conflict, and the legal aspects of the relationship between Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip: A resource for practitioners.” Similarly, the law pertaining to Israel’s actions taken during Operation Cast Lead will not be analyzed in this paper. This brief is designed to answer questions about the legal framework the Government of Israel(GoI) applies when assessing its humanitarian obligations to the Gaza Strip, and Operation Cast Lead has not generally altered that framework. 
    Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 7/2010. Legal Aspects of Israel's Disengagement Plan under International Humanitarian Law (IHL).Abstract

    On 14 April 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented to President George W. Bush a Disengagement Plan designed, according to the Israeli prime minister, to improve the security of Israel and stabilize its political and economic situation. After the original disengagement plan was defeated in a Likud referendum in early May, the Israeli prime minister issued a revised version of his Disengagement Plan on 6 June 2004. The core component of this Plan is a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the West Bank, designed to allow a more effective deployment of Israeli military forces and reduce the friction with the Palestinian population. The proposed Plan is based on the assumptions that, in any future permanent status arrangement between Israel and its Palestinian counterpart, there are unlikely to be any Israeli towns and villages left in the Gaza Strip and that some areas of the West Bank are likely to be integrated with the state of Israel, including cities, towns, and villages inhabited by Israeli settlers as well as security areas, installations, and other places of special interest to Israel. The proposed disengagement raises a number of legal issues that will be reviewed in this policy brief.

    Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 5/2010. Reparation for Civilians Living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT): Opportunities and Constraints under International Law.Abstract

    A prominent issue in contemporary international law and policy involves civilians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (“OPT”)1 who wish to seek reparation for damage allegedly sustained as a result of Israel’s activities vis-à-vis the OPT, whether in the course of belligerent occupation or armed conflict. This policy brief provides humanitarian practitioners with a basic understanding of the legal framework applicable to that issue. Given the sensitive nature of the topic it examines, this policy brief aims to equip readers with the conceptual tools necessary to understand the various arguments from different viewpoints. The main question to be addressed is whether in the above-outlined context a victim of a violation of international law has a right to compensation. This paper does not take any position as to whether Israel has, or has not, violated international law in any of the instances discussed. Nor does the paper address whether individual persons acting on behalf of the State of Israel may be held criminally liable for their acts. Also outside the scope of this paper is the situation of Israeli civilians having suffered damage as a result of the situation. 

    HPCR. 3/2008. Private Security Companies In The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT): An International Humanitarian Law Perspective.Abstract

    Recent incidents involving private security companies (PSCs) in Iraq have raised questions among governments and international agencies regarding the appropriate legal framework to regulate these organizations as well as to determine both company and employer liability under international humanitarian law (IHL). While the use of PSCs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has remained more limited than in Iraq, the growing presence of PSCs, especially at military checkpoints and crossings, has raised concerns among humanitarian practitioners. The purpose of this policy brief is to assess current uncertainties concerning the legal status of PSCs as they relate to the work of humanitarian agencies, the integrity of military chain of command, and the protection of civilian populations. A central issue lies in determining the extent to which PSC employees are to be considered agents of the Occupying Power and therefore no different, in legal terms, from any member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), or whether they represent a new and separate legal entity whose behavior cannot be directly attributable to the Occupation Power under IHL. For example, what are the legal duties and responsibilities of PSC employees in terms of facilitating humanitarian workers’ access to the occupied population? In the event that PSC employees are involved in military engagements in occupied territory, or if they detain, injure, or kill civilians, what accountability structure applies to their actions? In interviews with humanitarian practitioners in both the UN and the NGO communities, HPCR researchers found that these questions are beginning to trouble those responsible for the coordination and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian population. 

    HPCR. 5/2007. From Legal Theory to Policy Tools: IHL and International Human Rights Law.Abstract
    This briefing note aims to assess the interplay between International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), particularly as international agencies are engaged in the protection of Palestinian civilians living under occupation. In so doing, the paper will present a range of legal arguments on the applicability of IHRL considering the current situation in the OPT.
    Allan G. Hill, Cari Jo Clark, Ismail Lubbad, and Claude Bruderlein. 10/2006. “Hope and Despair over Health in Gaza.” BMJ, 333.Abstract

    The Israeli re-invasion of Gaza this July has redrawn the world’s attention to the dire straits of the population living in the Gaza Strip. There, within an area the size of the Isle of Wight, 1.4 million people live without free access to the outside world. Contrary to international hopes, the Israeli decision to withdraw from Gaza in September 2005 has led to increasingly tight control over the movement of goods and people. The destruction of the Gaza power station in addition to the damage to bridges, roads, and other infrastructure can only worsen the plight of Gazans in the coming months.

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