Humanitarian Governance: Norms and ideas in the Rohingya Internally Displaced Persons crisis

Humanitarian Governance webinar series
Doctoral student

Jasmine Burnley

Doctoral researcher at the International Development Department

Wednesday 17 Nov 2021, 17:00 - 18:30
Spoken Language
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Focusing on the Rohingya Internally Displaced PersonsĀ  crisis, Jasmine Burnley offers an examination of the disconnect between how humanitarian responses are expected to operate and their day-to-day political realities.

About the presentation

The humanitarian sector has evolved in ways that have changed its size, significance, agents and subjects: its deepening complexity and the emerging commitment to bridge the divide between humanitarianism and development have created a heavily populated ecosystem of diverse actors and blurred the boundaries of who participates in a response.

But despite these transformations, humanitarianism continues to be governed ostensibly by the humanitarian principles, which promise some form of insulation from politics. The residue of this discrepancy is a disconnect between how humanitarian responses are expected to operate, and their day-to-day political realities, cut through with multiple assumptions around what works and distinct ideas about what a crisis is.

This research examines the case of the Rohingya Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) crisis and finds that normative interpretations of the principles as well as powerful ideas around the construction of the crisis played a significant role in determining how the response was shaped, contributing to the sidelining of human rights violations; and preventing the international community from recognizing the overtly political project of discrimination orchestrated by authorities, with implications for its ability to strategically coordinate or advocate to Government.

This case raises questions for how interpretations of the principles intersect with political realities on the ground, and of the power of ideas in formulating and typecasting crises in ways that crowd out non-conforming evidence for why an emergency has occurred and what may be sustaining it.

The webinar will be hosted by Professor Thea Hilhorst.

Dr Rod Mena is the moderator and PhD researcher Tewodros Bayu is commentator.

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About the Hum-Gov webinar series

The Humanitarian Governance (Hum-Gov) research project explores the changing dynamics of humanitarian governance in DRC, Ethiopia and Colombia, with a focus on civil society actors and crisis-affected people.

During our monthly Hum-Gov Webinar series guest speakers will contribute with different perspectives around humanitarian governance, accountability, advocacy and alternatives.

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Humanitarian governance: accountability, advocacy, alternatives

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