Human rights protection and the scope of humanitarian action : the case of mixed migrations in Libya

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Keres, Sophie
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In the past twenty years, the scope of humanitarian action has largely evolved after shortcomings were observed in the response to the Rwandan and Bosnian crises. As a result, the early 2000’s saw the integration of human security, rights-based approaches, empowerment and protection to programming activities, putting into question the strict application of humanitarian principles. However, the goal of humanitarian action — to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and preserve human dignity in times of armed conflict and manmade or natural disasters — requires the respect of these principles in order to secure access to the people in need: the discipline is still subject to limitations of its scope, but these limitations must be determined through a case-by-case approach. This research aims at finding out what the protection of mixed migrants living in or transiting through Libya entails for the scope of humanitarian action. It firstly looks into the personal scope of humanitarian action: mixed migration flows are composed by refugees, and other forcibly displaced people, but also by economic migrants — which are not traditionally considered as subjects of humanitarian assistance. This variety of profiles calls for new narratives justifying the protection of all these different groups. In a second chapter, the research looks into the material scope of humanitarian action, in order to understand what is the role and what are the tools of humanitarian actors in order to protect migrants against the dangerous threats to their physical and mental integrity they often encounter in Libya.
Second semester University: Ruhr - University Bochum
humanitarian assistance, refugees, displaced persons, forced migration, migrants, Libya