Publications

2015
Brittany Card, Ziad Al Achkar, Isaac L. Baker, and Nathaniel A. Raymond. 9/2015. Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide: Intentional Burning of Tukuls.Abstract

During armed conflict in East and Central Africa civilian dwellings are intentionally targeted and razed. These traditional civilian dwellings are known as tukuls which are primarily mud and thatch huts.

The intentional destruction of these dwellings, given their prevalence in these regions, is often one of the only available indicators of the intentional targeting of civilians observable in satellite imagery.

This field has lacked accepted methodologies for performing this type of analysis. This guide is the first to focus on tukuls because they are a uniquely valuable metric for both documenting attacks on civilians during armed conflicts and assessing potential mass displacement that can result from these incidents.  

This guide is the second in a series of Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guides. Future satellite imagery interpretation guides from the Signal Program may focus on other, related phenomena and structures present in similar operational contexts.

siig_ii_burned_tukuls_3.pdf
Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham. 8/2015. Peacebuilding and Reconstruction Polls: Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Poll Report #3.Abstract

This poll is the third of a series of polls that will be conducted to provide reliable data and analysis on peace, security, justice and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The project is a joint initiative of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with MONUSCO Civil Affairs. HHI is responsible for the data collection, and independent analysis, and reporting of the results, in collaboration with partners at the Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs, Université Catholique de Bukavu, and Université de Bunia.

The results can be read in French here

drc_poll3_final_engl.pdf
Brittany Card. 7/2015. Applying Humanitarian Principles to Current Uses of Information Communication Technologies: Gaps in Doctrine and Challenges to Practice.Abstract
The goal of this paper is to identify and address current gaps, challenges and opportunities that face the humanitarian sector as it seeks to apply traditional humanitarian principles to the increasingly central role information communication technologies (ICTs) play in 21st Century humanitarian operations. While much has been written about the roles ICTs may play in support of humanitarian action, there is an absence of literature addressing how core humanitarian principles should guide, limit, and shape the use of these technologies in practice.
signal_program_humanitarian_principles_white_paper.pdf
Julia Brooks. 7/2015. Humanitarians Under Attack: Tensions, Disparities, and Legal Gaps in Protection.Abstract

Humanitarian professionals working in complex environments face increasing threats and attacks that endanger their lives, violate international humanitarian law, and jeopardize the consistent and effective delivery of emergency relief to populations in need. In light of these issues, this paper explores challenges and opportunities related to the predominant organizational approaches to the protection of aid workers in complex and insecure environments, and highlights often overlooked disparities in the risks faced by different groups of humanitarian professionals based on their status as national or international staff, gender, and organizational affiliation. It argues that insufficient attention has thus far been paid to the significance of these disparities and their implications for operational security and effectiveness. Furthermore, it highlights significant fragmentation and gaps in the protection of aid workers under international law and the culture of impunity prevailing for perpetrators of such attacks. It then examines the recent trends in humanitarian security management — namely, acceptance, protection, and deterrence. Finally, it offers reflections for the humanitarian community on improving the state of knowledge, practice and law with regard to the protection of humanitarian professionals.

atha-humanitarians_under_attack.pdf
Rob Grace. 6/2015. Humanitarian Negotiation: Key Challenges and Lessons Learned in an Emerging Field.Abstract
Negotiations are crucial for the overall success of humanitarian operations, yet these endeavors are inherently challenging. Given both the importance of humanitarian negotiations and the gravity of the difficulties faced, what is the capacity of the humanitarian sector to carry forward lessons learned from past negotiations? This paper addresses this question. Specifically, this paper examines the field of humanitarian negotiation as a unique professional domain that has encountered common challenges across different geographic contexts. The overall issue at hand is that, although negotiators in different settings have encountered similar dilemmas and obstacles, the field of humanitarian negotiation has been slow to develop a body of research analyzing common issues faced, produce policy guidance that grapples in an in depth manner with the practical difficulties of humanitarian negotiations, and build professional networks both within individual organizations and across the sector so that negotiators can share best practices with one another.
humanitarian_negotiation_-_key_challenges_and_lessons_learned_in_an_emerging_field.pdf
Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham. 6/2015. Peacebuilding and Reconstruction Polls: Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Poll Report #2 (French).Abstract

This poll is the second of a series of polls that will be conducted to provide reliable data and analysis on peace, security, justice and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The project is a joint initiative of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with MONUSCO Civil Affairs. HHI is responsible for the data collection, and independent analysis, and reporting of the results, in collaboration with partners at the Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs, Université Catholique de Bukavu, and Université de Bunia.

Please note that this report is in French.

drc_poll2_final_fr.pdf
Brittany Card, Isaac L. Baker, and Nathaniel A. Raymond. 4/2015. Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide: Displaced Population Camps.Abstract

Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide: Displaced Population Camps is intended to help address the absence of public and standardized training resources for those seeking to use high resolution satellite imagery in support of refugee/IDP assistance operations. Students, general audiences, and volunteers studying and analyzing satellite imagery of displaced population camps may find this training resource beneficial.

The guide provides case studies of displaced population camps in East Africa and the Middle East. Dimensions, colors, shapes, and, when possible, unique identifying features of objects, including civilian shelters and humanitarian agency infrastructure, visible in high resolution imagery of the camps are identified. Objects are organized according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs humanitarian cluster system and three other categories unique to this guide. Imagery provided by Google's Skybox Imaging for the creation of this guide can be explored online by following the directions included inside the report.

satellite_imagery_interpretation_guide.pdf
Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 3/2015. HPCR Advanced Practitioner's Handbook on Commissions of Inquiry.Abstract
The HPCR Advanced Practitioner's Handbook on Commissions of Inquiry was drafted by the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) in collaboration with the HPCR Group of Professionals on Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding, a team of high-level experts set up by HPCR. The Handbook aims to complement existing policy literature by addressing the more challenging methodological dilemmas facing the domain of monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF). Specifically, the Handbook focuses on mandate interpretation, establishing facts and applying the law, protecting witnesses and victims, public communication, and report drafting. The methodological considerations that the Handbook details are based on a comprehensive assessment — conducted by HPCR in collaboration with the Group of Professionals — of fifteen MRF missions implemented over the course of the past decade.
handbook-hpcrweb.pdf
Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham. 3/2015. Peacebuilding and Reconstruction Polls: Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Poll Report #1.Abstract

This poll is the first of a series of polls that will be conducted to provide reliable data and analysis on peace, security, justice and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The project is a joint initiative of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with MONUSCO Civil Affairs. HHI is responsible for the data collection, and independent analysis, and reporting of the results, in collaboration with partners at the Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs, Université Catholique de Bukavu, and Université de Bunia.

drc_poll1_final_engl.pdf
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.
final_harvard_report_-_mena_youth_in_crisis_landscape_study.pdf
2014
Patrick Kroker. 12/2014. Emerging Issues Facing the Use of Remote Sensing Evidence for International Criminal Justice .Abstract

Remote sensing can provide unique, sometimes otherwise unavailable, information about human rights violations occurring in non-permissive environments, over large geographic areas, and across long and multiple timeframes. The evidentiary potential of RS analysis currently appears not to be fully exploited by international criminal justice mechanisms. The purpose of this paper is (A) to illustrate the nature of RS analysis and its evidentiary potential and limitations, (B) to identify the key, repeating factors across regional and cultural contexts and types of crimes that influence its limited use in court, and (C) to explore steps and strategies for overcoming the challenges. 

emerging_issues_rs_and_ij_kroker.pdf
Rob Grace. 12/2014. “From Design to Implementation: The Interpretation of Fact-finding Mandates .” Journal of Conflict and Security Law, 20, 1, Pp. 27-60. Read PublicationAbstract

The mandate interpretation process is crucial to the implementation of fact-finding missions geared toward investigating alleged violations of international law, including human rights, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. However, many disagreements exist about how fact-finding practitioners should weigh different factors in their mandate interpretation processes. This article—based in part on extensive interviews conducted by the author with fact-finding practitioners—examines areas of methodological agreement and disagreement, trends of professional decision making, and normative perceptions that practitioners hold about best practices regarding the interpretation of fact-finding mandates. Overall, the article aims to highlight points of convergence and divergence between past professional experiences and to illuminate the benefits and risks of different methodological choices.

Rob Grace and Jill Coster Van Voorhout. 12/2014. “From Isolation to Interoperability: The Interaction of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding Missions and International Criminal Courts and Tribunals .” The Hague Institute for Global Justice.Abstract

Over the past few decades, governments have established various international criminal courts and tribunals (ICCTs), including several ad hoc entities — such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) — as well as a permanent body in the form of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Additionally, international actors have also established a wide array of non-judicial monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions, such as commissions of inquiry, monitoring components of peace operations, and special rapporteurs. This working paper discusses opportunities and challenges for achieving a greater degree of interoperability between international judicial and non-judicial accountability efforts.

working-paper-4-fact-finding.pdf
Brittany Card and Isaac L. Baker. 11/2014. “GRID: A Methodology Integrating Witness Testimony and Satellite Imagery Analysis for Documenting Alleged Mass Atrocities .” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, 8, 3, Pp. 49-61.Abstract

This article documents the development and initial use case of the GRID (Ground Reporting through Imagery Delivery) methodology by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). GRID was created to support corroboration of witness testimony of mass atrocity related-events using satellite imagery analysis. A repeating analytic limitation of employing imagery for this purpose is that differences in the geographic knowledge of a witness and an imagery analyst can limit or impede corroboration.

grid-_integrating_witness_testimony_and_satellite_imagery.pdf
Nathaniel A. Raymond, Brittany Card, and Isaac L. Baker. 11/2014. “A New Forensics: Developing Standard Remote Sensing Methodologies to Detect and Document Mass Atrocities .” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, 8, 3, Pp. 33-48.Abstract

The aim of this article is to highlight potential methods applicable to a standard forensic approach for the analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery that may contain evidence of alleged mass atrocities. The primary method employed is the retrospective analysis of a case study involving the use of high-resolution satellite imagery analysis to document alleged mass atrocities. The case study utilized herein is the Satellite Sentinel Project’s reporting on the May 2011 sacking of Abyei Town by Government of Sudan-aligned armed actors. In the brief case study, categories of objects, patterns of activities, and types of alleged mass atrocity events are applied the Abyei Town incident.

a_new_forensics-_mass_atrocity_remote_sensing.pdf
Jocelyn Kelly, Alexandria King-Close, and Rachel Perks. 10/2014. “Resources and resourcefulness: Roles, opportunities and risks for women working at artisanal mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo .” Futures, 62, Pp. 95-105. Read PublicationAbstract

Two dominant narratives have characterized the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): (1) the horrific abuse of women through sexual violence and (2) the use of “conflict minerals” to fuel the fighting. These two advocacy narratives intersect uniquely in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) towns and can lead to flawed understandings of the true dynamics of women's experiences in these contexts. Mining areas are important centers of economic activity for women, but also pose distinct risks. A simplistic portrayal of women's victimization in mining towns suppress discussion of their participation in non-conflict political and social processes. Yet, these processes are among the most important to ensure that women secure opportunities for long-term, substantive engagement in mining activities. This paper draws on systematically collected qualitative data from two territories in South Kivu, Walungu and Kalehe, to examine how women negotiate these complex social and economic mining landscapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their accounts compel a re-examination of development efforts to remove women from the mines altogether, and to look more closely at the measures available to help them realize their legal rights to work safely and fairly in these contexts.

Jocelyn Kelly, Alexandria King-Close, and Rachel Perks. 10/2014. “Resources and resourcefulness: Roles, opportunities and risks for women working at artisanal mines in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo .” Futures, 62, Pp. 95-105. Read PublicationAbstract

Two dominant narratives have characterized the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): (1) the horrific abuse of women through sexual violence and (2) the use of “conflict minerals” to fuel the fighting. These two advocacy narratives intersect uniquely in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) towns and can lead to flawed understandings of the true dynamics of women's experiences in these contexts. Mining areas are important centers of economic activity for women, but also pose distinct risks. A simplistic portrayal of women's victimization in mining towns suppress discussion of their participation in non-conflict political and social processes. Yet, these processes are among the most important to ensure that women secure opportunities for long-term, substantive engagement in mining activities. This paper draws on systematically collected qualitative data from two territories in South Kivu, Walungu and Kalehe, to examine how women negotiate these complex social and economic mining landscapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their accounts compel a re-examination of development efforts to remove women from the mines altogether, and to look more closely at the measures available to help them realize their legal rights to work safely and fairly in these contexts.

Beth Maclin, Jocelyn Kelly, Justin Kabanga, and Michael VanRooyen. 9/2014. “They have embraced a different behaviour': transactional sex and family dynamics in eastern Congo's Conflict.” Culture, Health & Sexuality. Read PublicationAbstract

The decades-long conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has resulted in major changes to local economies, strained social networks and insecurity. This environment forces many to pursue unconventional and, at times, socially stigmatised avenues for income. This paper explores the ways in which individuals in eastern DRC engage in, and are affected by, the commoditisation of sex within the context of decades of violent conflict.

Rob Grace. 8/2014. Recommendations and Follow-Up Measures in Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions. Read PublicationAbstract
This paper examines follow-up measures that have been undertaken in the wake of reports published by monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding missions tasked to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Section 1 explores the perspectives of both MRF practitioners and scholars on the importance of recommendations offered in MRF reports. Section 2 examines the impacts that MRF practitioners seek to achieve. Section 3 provides an overview of the methodological dilemmas of assessing the outcomes of MRF work. Section 4 presents an assessment of the implementation of recommendations articulated in reports of fifteen MRF missions implemented over the course of the past decade. Section 5 examines the factors that shape practitioners’ decisions about crafting recommendations in MRF reports. Section 6 posits questions for practitioners and policy actors to consider as part of the ongoing discourse regarding devising MRF methodologies, learning lessons from past MRF experiences, and building a community of practice among MRF practitioners.
 
Rob Grace. 7/2014. Communication and Report Drafting in Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Mechanisms . Read PublicationAbstract

This working paper examines how monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions have responded to challenges regarding public communication and report drafting. Overall, the paper aims to present a portrait of the views and practices of the MRF community — as well as the implications of different approaches — regarding transparency. What should MRF practitioners communicate publicly? What information should be kept private? When a mission does communicate publicly, how should practitioners do so? What factors should shape practitioners’ communications strategies? How should these factors influence the ways that practitioners approach drafting MRF reports? This paper examines these questions, which — given that the effectiveness of an MRF mission hinges on the ability of commissioners to foster positive public perceptions of the mission’s credibility — are crucial to the overall success of the domain of MRF.

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