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Study on Security and Humanitarian Aid in Haiti
Arnaud Dandoy, Caroline Broudic, June 2013

The question of security in Haiti was the subject of an article in the 4th Observatory Newsletter published by Groupe URD: “Security in Haiti : an impossible dialogue?”. The idea was to lay the foundations for a more in-depth analysis of international organisations’ security measures and their impact on operations.

As part of the activities of Groupe URD’s Observatory in Haiti, a study is currently being carried out on “Security and humanitarian aid in Haiti”. This subject has been chosen due to the extremely strict security rules applied by the main international organisations (United Nations agencies, humanitarian NGOs [1] and donors), which were made even more restrictive following the earthquake. Few NGOs, for example, questioned the use of military protection (US army, MINUSTAH, PNH) to oversee their food distributions immediately after the earthquake. The debate about the militarization of aid was taken up by a few intellectuals (N. Chomsky, M. Chossudosky), but very little by humanitarian organizations: “The militarisation of humanitarian aid operations will weaken the organizational capacity of the Haitians to rebuild and restore the destroyed institutions of the civil government” [2]. In addition, certain poorer neighbourhoods have been partly abandoned due to the real or perceived security risks. The study will attempt to shed light on the reasons for these security measures and on the possible contradictions with certain humanitarian principles such as impartiality, neutrality and direct access to communities.

[1] It should be noted that the security measures put in place by humanitarian NGOs are much more restrictive than those of development NGOs. The study will therefore essentially concern humanitarian NGOs.

[2] Michel Chossudovsky, January 2010.