Bunia, located in the Ituri District of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is an area that has been the center for the multidimensional inter-ethnic confrontations ravaging the region since 1999. The peak of violence was in May of 2003 when, upon the withdrawal of Ugandan troops, a confrontation between two parties representing main warring ethnic tribes resulted in the death and displacement of thousands of civilians.
The Palestinian Authority was deeply weakened during the Second intifâda, which started in September 2000. The policy of having the Israeli army destroy structures, isolate the Occupied Territories and build the wall kept the Palestinian Authority from efficiently helping the population. Consequently, Palestinian nongovernmental organizations involved in development programs played a major role. Despite difficult conditions, they adopted new strategies. In the farming sector, PARC is a good example of this change in strategy.
Control measures to limit the spread of a cholera outbreak in Pohnpei Island (Micronesia), included mass vaccination with the single-dose live-attenuated oral cholera vaccine CVD 103-HgR as a potential adjunct measure. The outbreak provided a unique opportunity to evaluate the practicality of use and effectiveness of this vaccine. Under field conditions encountered in Pohnpei, crude vaccine efficacy was estimated at 79.2% (95% CI: 71.9–84.6%) in the target population.
The second intifâda is unique in that debates all seem to focus on the relationship between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israeli authorities. The international community focuses on suicide attacks on Israeli territory and the heavily militarized Israeli response to these attacks. The Palestinian people are largely absent from debates in the media: the media only highlights political groups such as the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsâ Brigades and the Fath. What about the voluntary sector in Palestine?
In this article, Jean-Marc Biquet discusses the use of humanitarian action as a justification for military intervention. He stresses the incompatibility of mandates between humanitarians and military, as well as the inability of humanitarian aid to distinguish between "good" and "bad" victims..
As part of the preparations for the war in Iraq, a "humanitarian component" is currently being organized by the U.S. government and the military. In this article, Jean-Marc Biquet expresses his concern over the military following humanitarians once again during an armed intervention. According to him, humanitarian action must not have a "hidden agenda", but must remain a process in itself, with the sole objective of alleviating the suffering of populations. Today, however, this action is increasingly subject to the political objectives of certain governments.
After restating the definition, purpose, and role of humanitarian assistance, the author emphasizes the dangers that misuse for political considerations represents for the image of humanitarian action. While recognizing that technical expertise is important for effective provision of aid, the author stresses that humanitarianism requires more than technology. He also warns that collecting the funds necessary for relief operations must not lead to commercial-style marketing of humanitarian assistance.