Fuel to the Flames: What if Humanitarian Aid Prolongs Conflict?

Fuel to the Flames: What if Humanitarian Aid Prolongs Conflict?
The first and foremost goal of humanitarian aid is to save lives. But what if humanitarian action unintentionally lengthens the duration or becomes part of a conflict? During this second edition of Hot Humanitarian Topics, we discuss the unintended consequences of humanitarian aid during the conflict in South-Sudan and other African countries with the South Sudanese scientist Jok Madut Jok.

In 2017 humanitarian organizations warned for a severe famine in South Sudan. In The Netherlands, Giro555 organized a campaign to raise money for the population of South Sudan. However, according to Jok Madut Jok, the activities of the international (humanitarian) organizations in South Sudan were prolonging the civil war in South Sudan, and therefore should stop. Aid provides the political leaders of South Sudan an alibi for their failure to take care of the welfare of their people. Additionally, the aid feeds the armies that fight with each other: “If the international community did not help, my assessment is that political leaders no longer allow people to die, and they would stop the war.”

During this edition of Humanitarian Hot Topics, Jok Madut Jok, the executive director of the South Sudanese think tank Sudd Institute, will give an introduction addressing the unintended consequences of humanitarian aid in South Sudan and other African countries. His keynote speech is followed by a discussion between him and speakers from the humanitarian sector.

About Jok Madut Jok

Jok Madut Jok is the executive director of the Sudd Institute, a public policy research centre based in South Sudan. Besides his work at the Sudd Institue, Jok is also a professor of anthropology at the University of Juba in South Sudan. He is a widely recognized specialist on the topics of security, conflict, humanitarian aid, and political violence.

Following the independence of South Sudan in 2011, Jok joined the government of South Sudan as undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for two years. Jok has also worked in the aid and development sector and is the author of various books including Breaking Sudan: The Search for Peace (2017) and Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence (2007). He also write numerous articles covering: humanitarian aid, gender, sexuality and reproductive health, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, and war and slavery and the politics of identity in South Sudan and Sudan.

Other Speakers

  • Ton Huijzer will give an introduction to the issue from a humanitarian perspective. Ton Huijzer is a consultant in the humanitarian aid sector. Prior to this he worked for the Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres and the International Rescue Committee / Stichting Vluchteling.
  • Bram Jansen is assistant professor at Wageningen University and Research, on the topics of: refugees and forced migration, protracted refugee situations, and humanitarian aid. For his doctoral research (2004-2011) he spent two years in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Northern Kenya that receives people from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo and Uganda. For his post-doc he studied humanitarian decision-making and its effects in South Sudan.
  • Other speakers will be announced shortly.

About the series ‘Humanitarian Hot Topics’

KUNO & Humanity House organise the series ‘Humanitarian Hot Topics’. For each edition they invite a speaker with an outspoken vision on much discussed hot topics within the humanitarian sector, such as migration, #metoo and localisation. After a short plea, the speaker will go into dialogue with the speakers from the humanitarian sectors and the audience. These series are made possible through the financial support of ten different humanitarian emergency aid organisations.

To read more about Humanity House, click here.

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