Publications

2014
Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham. 7/2014. Searching for Lasting Peace: Population-Based Survey on Perceptions and Attitudes about Peace, Security and Justice in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo .Abstract

This report presents the results of a mixed-methods study conducted in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between November and December 2013, to assess the population’s perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about peace, security and justice. The study included a survey of 5,166 randomly selected adult residents, to provide results that are representative of the adult population of territories and major urban areas in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, and the district of Ituri.

drc2014_searching_for_lasting_peace.pdf
Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck. 7/2014. Fragile Peace, Elusive Justice: Population-Based Survey on Perceptions and Attitudes about Security and Justice in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Read PublicationAbstract

This report presents the results of a mixed-methods study conducted in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to assess the population’s perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about security and justice. The study included a survey of 1,000 randomly selected adult residents, to provide results that are representative of the population of the city of Abidjan. The specific objectives of this study were to:

  1. Assess the overall exposure to violence among the population in Abidjan.
  2. Document attitudes and opinions about transitional justice mechanisms.
  3. Examine how the population gathers information about the International Criminal Court (ICC), what factors influence Ivorians’ knowledge of the Court, and what correlation exists between information sources and perceptions.

Detailed results provided in the report outline the challenges of rebuilding peace and achieving justice after a decade of conflict, and just two years after a dramatic post-election crisis. The report reveals a population that has little or no trust in its government and in each other, concerned with its economic well-being, and somewhat divided about holding accountable the perpetrators of serious crimes during the postelection violence.

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.

Jocelyn Kelly. 6/2014. “"This mine has become our farmland": Critical perspectives on the coevolution of artisanal mining and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo .” Resources Policy, 40, Pp. 100-108. Read PublicationAbstract

The debate on conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been widely documented by the international media, government and non-governmental agencies and academics. In recent years, a variety of international initiatives have been launched to curb the flow of funding from conflict minerals to armed groups. Many of these initiatives, however, have led to the loss of livelihoods for millions of small-scale miners.

Drawing on interviews with key informants and focus group discussions in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities in South Kivu Province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), this paper examines the ways in which the national army, as well as an array of armed groups, have exerted control of mining towns.

Jocelyn Kelly and Beth Maclin. 4/2014. Assessing the Impact of Programming to Reduce the Stigmatization of Survivors of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.Abstract

This project rigorously evaluated programming that addresses stigma against survivors. In this program evaluation, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Women in War program worked with the Congolese NGO, Centre d’Assistance Medico-Psychosociale (CAMPS) to assess which parts of their programming are most effective and how to continue to improve services related to reducing stigma. 

women-in-war-stigmatization.pdf
Stephen Wilkinson. 2/2014. "Finding the Facts": Standards of Proof and Information Handling in Monitoring, Reporting and Fact-Finding Missions . Read PublicationAbstract

This paper sets out various dilemmas faced by practitioners undertaking fact-finding missions, based on a desk analysis and extensive interviews with expert practitioners. The paper addresses the challenges, both practical and theoretical, related to standards of proof and information collection and suggests policy options that might be pursued moving forward.

Cynthia Petrigh. 2/2014. Protection of Witnesses, Victims and Staff in Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Mechanisms . Read PublicationAbstract

One dilemma that faces practitioners serving on monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions concerns the protection of witnesses, victims, and staff. The paradox underlying the issue of protection is that, while statements from witnesses and victims account for the predominant evidence when investigating human rights violations, the very fact that victims and witnesses decide to come forward and contribute to the establishment of the truth can put these individuals at risk. Another dilemma emanates from the ad hoc nature of such missions, in contrast with the need to ensure protection on a long-term scale. In the often-volatile contexts in which MRF missions typically operate, security risks also arise for MRF staff members participating in on-the-ground operations. This paper analyzes how past MRF missions, whether commissioned by ad hoc bodies or by the UN, have grappled with these risks. The paper examines the sources of the obligations to protect witnesses, victims, and staff; the nature of the threats that could arise; the protective steps that have been taken; and the measures that could be taken by MRF professionals in the future. As this paper demonstrates, often a divide exists between aspirational notions of best practice and the reality of what can be delivered, leaving MRF practitioners frequently uncertain about the lengths and limits of their protective responsibilities.

Jr. Frederick M. Burkle, P. Gregg Greenough, and Gerald Martone. 1/2014. “The Changing Face of Humanitarian Crises .” Brown Journal of World Affairs, 20, 2, Pp. 19-36.Abstract

The scale and cadence of crises that demand international humanitarian response is increasing. The cumulative frequency and severity of climate change on large populations, rapid and unsustainable urbanization, decreasing biodiversity, and the impending realities of resource scarcities and the armed conflicts they might catalyze are only some of the challenges that loom ahead. It is ironic that while human civilization today possesses the most advanced technologies, global prosperity, and abundance, we face the greatest absolute number of people lacking access to clean water, food, shelter, and basic healthcare.

brown_journal_hum_crises_burkle_martone_grrenough_2014.pdf
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.

harvard_field_study_jordan_january_2014_final.pdf
2013
Rob Grace. 12/2013. The Design and Planning of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions . Read PublicationAbstract

The design and planning process is crucial to the implementation of monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms geared toward investigating violations of international law, including human rights, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. However, many disagreements exist about how MRF actors should weigh different factors in their design and planning decision-making processes. This paper — to provide a point of reference indicating the implications of different methodological choices — examines areas of methodological agreement and disagreement, trends of professional decision-making, and normative perceptions that practitioners hold about best practices regarding the design and planning of MRF mechanisms. Based on an assessment of fifteen MRF missions implemented over the past decade, this paper analyzes how commissioners on these missions interpreted the mission’s investigative scope, examines the factors that guided decisions about the activities that the mission would undertake, and offers an overview of common staffing dilemmas. Overall, the paper aims to present a portrait of the state of MRF practice, in terms of how practitioners approach fulfilling their mandates.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 12/2013. HHI Annual Report 2013.Abstract

2013 was another important and impactful year for humanitarianism. From Syria, to Sudan, and the Philippines, we have witnessed and responded to new global health challenges in an ever changing humanitarian landscape. We at HHI are committed to creating new ways to serve our local and global neighbors in greatest need, and to making the world a safer place for those who are threatened, displaced and dispossessed. This report provides a review of HHI's activities in 2013, and includes research program achievements, highlights from the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, and an overview of events and publications from the year.

hhi-year-end-report-2013.pdf
Jennifer Scott, Sarah Averbach, Anna Merport Modest, Michele Hacker, Sarah Cornish, Danielle Spencer, Maureen Murphy, and Parveen Parmar. 11/2013. “An Assessment of Attitudes Toward Gender Inequitable Sexual and Reproductive Health Norms in South Sudan: a Community-based Participatory Research Approach.” Conflict and Health. Read PublicationAbstract

Communities in South Sudan have endured decades of conflict. Protracted conflict exacerbated reproductive health disparities and gender inequities. This study, conducted prior to the country’s 2011 independence, aimed to assess attitudes toward gender inequitable norms related to sexual relationships and reproductive health and the effects of sex, age, and education on these attitudes.

Brittany Card, Justine MacKinnon, and Patrick Meier. 11/2013. #Westgate Tweets: A Detailed Study of Information Forensics.Abstract

Al Shabaab's horrific attack of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi generated over 730,000 tweets during the four-day siege in Spetember 2013. The purpose of this study is to analyze the authors, content and frequency of these tweets in the hour leading up to the attacks and during the two hours after the onslaught began. The Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) partnered with GNIP to collect the 730,000+ tweets within hours of the attack unfolding. QCRI Research Assistants Ms. Brittany Card and Ms. Justine MacKinnon carried out the subsequent categorization and analysis of tweets under the guidance of QCRI's Director of Social Innovation, Dr. Patrick Meier.

westgate-tweets.pdf
Ben Yunmo Wang, Gabrielle Gould, Nathaniel Raymond, and Isaac Baker. 10/2013. “Problems from Hell, Solution in the Heavens?: Identifying Obstacles and Opportunities for Employing Geospatial Technologies to Document and Mitigate Mass Atrocities.” Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 2, 3. Read PublicationAbstract

At the evolving frontier of modern humanitarianism, non-governmental organizations are using satellite technology to monitor mass atrocities. As a documentation tool, satellites have the potential to collect important real-time evidence for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, the field remains experimental and ill-defined, while useful court evidence cannot be produced without a standard methodology and code of ethics. In this paper, members of the groundbreaking Satellite Sentinel Project review the historical development of satellite documentation and some of its landmark projects, and propose necessary measures to advance the field forward.

Théo Boutruche. 10/2013. Selecting and Applying Legal Lenses in Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions. Read PublicationAbstract

While the existence of monitoring, reporting and fact-finding (MRF) bodies in the international realm is not a new phenomenon, the recent proliferation of such institutions raises a number of policy and legal issues. One issue is that, as MRF bodies are increasingly called to make legal determinations and interpret existing unsettled rules or concepts of international law, these mechanisms’ role and practice in this regard attract more legal scrutiny. As a result, the way that MRF missions apply the law — as much as the methodology used to establish facts — can affect the mission’s credibility. This paper addresses this issue by focusing on the selection and application of legal lenses in MRF mechanisms. The paper aims at describing and analyzing the current practice to identify strengths, gaps, and challenges, with a view to presenting options to improve the ways that MRF practitioners articulate and apply legal frameworks.

Ofilio Mayorga. 8/2013. Arbitrating War: Military Necessity as a Defense to the Breach of Investment Treaty Obligations. Read Publication
Brittany Card, Ziad Al Achkar, Nathaniel A. Raymond, Benjamin I. Davies, and Isaac L. Baker. 7/2013. “While We Watched: Assessing the Impact of the Satellite Sentinel Project.” The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.Abstract

The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs published an article authored by Signal Program staff in which they detail the technology, perceived impact and lessons learned from running operations for the Satellite Sentinel Project. This inside assessment of the Satellite Sentinel Project has been offered open source by the journal in order to inform humanitarian practitioners, scholars and the public.

185-191-scitech_raymond.pdf
Isaac L. Baker, Brittany Card, and Ziad Al Achkar. 6/2013. Sharing Space: Adapting Military Approaches to Geospatial Analysis for Humanitarian Response and the Documentation of Human Rights Abuses . 2_sharing_space_hhi_final_a_copy_0.pdf
Brittany Card, Samuel Plasmati, Ziad Al Achkar, Joan P. Heck, Benjamin I. Davies, Isaac L. Baker, and Nathaniel A. Raymond. 6/2013. Sudan: Anatomy of a Conflict .Abstract
The Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative has released its first study, Sudan: Anatomy of a Conflict. 
This study is the first geospatial-based history of a conflict created primarily through a fusion of remote sensing and previously public event data.  The researchers of the Signal Program spent many months cross-referencing and analyzing over 40,000 square kilometers of archival satellite imagery of Sudan with more than 2,000 published reports of incidents occurring between January 2011 and mid-2012.
Key findings of the study include evidence of the apparent intentional destruction of more than 2,000 civilian dwellings and other structures; the intentional targeting and destruction of four humanitarian facilities; identification of specific armed actors, units, and chains-of-command allegedly involved in specific attacks in Sudan; and evidence of the mass displacement of civilian populations.
sudan-anatomy-of-a-conflict.pdf
Vera Sistenich. 2/2013. “Summary of Polio-Related Attacks on Health Workers”.Abstract

Since 1988, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio through programs in more than 200 countries involving some 20 million volunteers and an international investment of over US$8 billion. By 2006, polio cases around the world had decreased by over 99% and remained endemic in only four countries – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan – with a handful of other countries reporting sporadic cases. In 2008, the World Health Assembly called for the formulation of a concerted global strategy to eradicate polio from these remaining countries and create a polio-free world. This led to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Strategic Plan 2010 – 2012, an aggressive action- and time-specific initiative to end polio transmission in the remaining areas where this persisted.

sistenich-summary-of-polio-attacks.pdf

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