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In this article, the author warns the humanitarian
community to be business-savvy before they decide to use private military
Peter Warren Singer is National Security Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Director of the Brookings Project on US Policy Towards the Islamic World.
Gerald Martone and Hope Neighbor describe
how saving lives can be used as an "emergency alibi" by
relief organizations in order to speed up decision-making. Unfortunately,
it is also used as an excuse for breaches of good craftsmanship or non-compliance
with conventional best practices.
The purpose with this article is to show that immediate humanitarian needs in disasters can destabilise victims' future well-being and that a long-term view of emergency assistance gives rise to greater short and long-term benefits to the victims.
Attacks on humanitarian workers in the world's danger spots represent an alarming trend that is likely to accelerate in the years ahead. This now poses a serious problem for international aid organisations, as the rise in casualties among aid workers could not only affect how aid agencies conduct their programmes, but even whether they are able to respond at all to some emergencies.
The problem is beginning to take on alarming proportions. The UNHCR points out that two-thirds of its staff work in security risk areas and a third serve in particularly hazardous duty stations.