The characteristics and consequences of humanitarian advocacy: an agenda for research

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

Abstract

Many international humanitarian agencies are engaging in public criticism of states and other authorities—sometimes called humanitarian advocacy—and reflecting on whether and how they should do so, with the debate dominated by discussion of an apparent or assumed tension between advocacy and access, and a linked discussion as to the relationship between advocacy and neutrality. Yet we lack a solid evidence base as to the consequences—desired and undesired—of publicly criticizing authorities. While there is a burgeoning literature in IR on issue-selection, publishing strategies, and the effectiveness of “naming and shaming” tactics by human rights organizations, there exists no systematic analysis of the characteristics and consequences of humanitarian advocacy. The literature focused on human rights organizations can provide some useful insights, but we can reasonably expect that the characteristics and consequences of humanitarian advocacy will be different from those of human rights advocacy, given the differences in the core mandates of humanitarian as opposed to human rights agencies. Accordingly, this paper sets out an agenda for research on the characteristics and consequences of humanitarian advocacy, outlining a number of questions to guide future research.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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