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29 Apr 2015 description

Over the past few decades, commissions of inquiry have become an increasingly prominent component of international, regional, and national responses to allegations of violations of international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL) in the context of armed conflicts and internal disturbances.

11 Dec 2013 description

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.

13 Jun 2013 description

Although their objectives may be different, governments and humanitarian organizations observe similar objects and locations when engaging in satellite monitoring.

04 Dec 2012 description

A recent paper — “Characteristics of the Colombian armed conflict and the mental health of civilians living in active conflict zones” — published in the journal, Conflict and Health, provides a valuable analysis of the effect of armed conflict on mental health. The paper uses clinical data provided by Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) to test, as the paper states, “the prediction that more severe exposure to conflict violence would be associated with more serious psychopathy.”

21 Aug 2012 description

Posted by Anaïde Nahikian on August 21, 2012

The ongoing fight against polio in Pakistan has suffered a significant setback, as Taliban leaders in the tribal areas have banned all vaccination programs in the region. Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a prominent commander of a Pakistani Taliban faction in North Waziristan, has prohibited anti-polio immunization campaigns in protest of ongoing U.S. drone attacks, prompting leaders in other tribal areas to do the same.

01 Jun 2012 description

From April 11 to May 8, 2012, the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) at Harvard University conducted a baseline survey on the humanitarian community’s use of social media. HPCR presented the survey results during a Live Web Seminar on May 10, 2012. This blog post examines some key findings of the survey in more detail.

11 May 2012 description

The recent increase in social media use across the world has enabled individuals to connect with one another through new and dynamic communication pathways. These platforms — including Twitter, Facebook, and other media-sharing networks — are also significantly affecting crisis response and humanitarian policy. The particularly acute rise in social media use in disaster-affected areas underscores the relevance of social media to humanitarian action.

10 May 2012 description

[Editor's Note: In its efforts to enrich professional dialogue on contemporary challenges of humanitarian law and policy, the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) at Harvard University invites experts in international humanitarian law, humanitarian action, and associated fields to contribute their insights to relevant discussions. HPCR is pleased to welcome the contribution below from Mr. Jason Cone, Communications Director at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

17 Apr 2012 description

HPCR Draft Working Paper by Rob Grace and Claude Bruderlein

This Working Paper presents HPCR’s research to date on dilemmas faced by international actors engaged in the creation and implementation of monitoring, reporting, and fact-­finding (MRF) mechanisms. This Working Paper aims to provide HPCR’s analysis of the current state of MRF missions and to suggest key areas for future research and policy engagement.

05 Mar 2012 description

The growing professionalization of the humanitarian sector and the corresponding “accountability deficit” in relief interventions has been the subject of on-going dialogue among international aid agencies and humanitarian professionals. Numerous recent initiatives — such as the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), the Sphere Project, and the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) — are devoted to increasing accountability standards and practices.

21 Jul 2011 description


This Working Paper presents HPCR’s research to date on dilemmas arising from the intersection between, on the one hand, counterterrorism laws and policies prohibiting engagement with certain non‐state entities (NSEs)1 and, on the other, humanitarian access and protection of civilians in armed conflict. This Working Paper aims to provide HPCR’s initial analysis of these dilemmas and to suggest key areas for future research and policy engagement.

25 May 2011 description

Post-event Summary

The Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University (HPCR)hosted a Live Web Seminar on which examined the international community's response to the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire. Though the widespread violence is generally subsiding with the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo, the situation in Côte d'Ivoire continues to raise a number of concerns in terms of protecting civilians and adequately addressing their needs.