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Conflict and Humanitarian Action. Report of a Conference at Princeton University (New York, 22-23 October 1993)

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Author Doyle, M.W.; Johnstone, I.
Publication Date 23 October 1993
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Conflict and Humanitarian Action. Report of a Conference at Princeton University (New York, 22-23 October 1993), 23 October 1993, available at: [accessed 22 January 2019]
Comments Co-Sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Peace Academy and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Rapporteurs: Michael W. Doyle and Ian Johnstone, with the assistance of Ayaka Suzuki, Timothy Wilkins and Brian Williams.

This report was originally printed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1994) on behalf of the co-sponsors, and was reprinted by International Peace Academy (1996). The views expressed and designations employed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any or all of the co-sponsoring organizations.


Recent events have underscored the difficulties of organizing humanitarian action in conflict situations. As the authority of new states collapses around the world in the aftermath of the Cold War and societies fragment in resulting bitter civil wars, humanitarian needs multiply. Since today's emergencies, unlike natural disasters, carry with them a nearly constant threat of armed violence, the connection between humanitarian action, on the one hand, and peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement and peacebuilding, on the other, has become a crucial issue.

Their mutual dependence can be a vital source of mutual support. With the development of comprehensive peace settlements, such as the Paris Agreements of 1991 that established the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), effective peacekeeping has grown to require extensive refugee resettlement and rehabilitation components. Moreover, contacts between humanitarian agencies, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the competing factions in a civil war have served as the first steps toward peace negotiations. Correspondingly, humanitarian action in civil wars has become dependent on extensive peacekeeping (and enforcement) operations such as that conducted by the United Nations Protection Force for the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR).

Yet mutual dependence can also give rise to misunderstandings and actions at cross-purposes. Problems of appropriate coordination arise as the need to respect the integrity of the humanitarian mandate directed toward preventing or alleviating individual suffering strains against the peacekeepers' mandate to achieve political reconciliation among warring factions. Humanitarian agencies especially balk at involvement in peace enforcement operations and at the same time they protest at being used as substitutes for the failure of collective enforcement action, with all the consequent exposure to violence that entails. Peacekeepers sometimes find that humanitarian agencies fail to appreciate the constraints of a peacemaking process that may require impartiality among factions, even if some of those factions violate human rights or exploit their populations.

After Dean Henry Bienen of the Woodrow Wilson School welcomed the participants to Princeton University, Mrs. Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Mr. Olara Otunnu, the President of International Peace Academy (IPA), opened the conference by drawing the participants' attention to the new convergence between humanitarian action and peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement and peacebuilding. They noted the importance and timeliness of the topic and the critical need for dialogue among the conference participants, who included senior diplomats, international civil servants, researchers, academics, non-governmental activists, journalists and practitioners (see Appendix 1).

Mr. Otunnu outlined the conference's agenda (see Appendix 2). The conference would begin with two case studies. In the former Yugoslavia, UNHCR and UNPROFOR have waged a daily struggle to achieve access to the victims of war; in Cambodia, UNHCR repatriated 370,000 refugees in a comprehensive peace process conducted under the supervision of UNTAC. The Cambodia operation which, despite some serious difficulties, is widely regarded as a successful marriage between peacekeeping and humanitarian action would be contrasted to the mission in the Former Yugoslavia, equally widely regarded as a case of humanitarian action and peacekeeping in crisis. Mr. Kofi Annan, Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations, would offer the keynote address, "Peace-keeping and Humanitarian Action." The conference would then divide into five panels, each focusing on a central question:

1.         When should the United Nations intervene with force for humanitarian purposes?

2.         What role should the UN play to prevent disasters?

3.         To what extent should humanitarian action and peacekeeping be linked in the field?

4.         How can the way in which the Security Council deals with these issues be improved?

5.         What should the relation be between human rights monitoring and humanitarian action ?

Mrs. Ogata warned that "the conflict that we witness in the Balkans today is a cancer that can spread through the entire fabric of national and international society." The corrosive effects of ethnic hatred, repeated violations of human rights and the failure to achieve a peace settlement or to enforce collective security have led humanitarian agencies to a perilous crossroads. "How long," she asked, "and how far can a humanitarian institution go in assisting and, to some extent, saving the victims, without damaging its image, credibility and principles and the self-respect of its staff in the face of manipulation, blackmail, abuse, humiliation and murder?" The Cambodian success, by contrast, illustrated the role humanitarian agencies could play within a comprehensive peace settlement, where the linkage between humanitarian action and peacekeeping was clear and the specificity of the protection mandate held by the humanitarian agency was respected.


Mrs. Sadako Ogata

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Dear colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

When Ambassador Olara Otunnu and I first discussed, several months ago, the idea of a jointly sponsored conference on the pressing topic of humanitarian action in conflict environments, we could not have hoped for a better attendance and venue.

Indeed, I am delighted that such a wide gamut of officials, scholars and independent personalities representing all the facets of international society who are involved with or concerned by this major challenge of our time, have responded favorably to our invitation. It is only apt that we should meet at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. The proximity of New York is also most appropriate, for reflection on questions such as those on our agenda should never be remote from the policy and decision-making centers. Neither should it be distant from the actual realities on the ground such as those with which my Office is confronted -- perhaps I should say threatened -- on a daily, and in some parts of the world, on an hourly basis. This is why the IPA and UNHCR felt it was essential that a cross-section of senior diplomats, international civil servants, researchers, academies, non-governmental activists, journalists and actual practitioners gather to exchange views and experiences in the quest of greater clarity and consensus over the immensely complex dimensions of our new turbulent era.

As we are here to engage in a dynamic debate, I shall keep my opening remarks brief, particularly since I have requested two of my colleagues to present to you the experience my Office has gained recently in two of its main operations, namely Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia.

I have asked my colleagues to be forthright in their presentations. You will understand that the choices they face daily on the ground are real, the tensions agonizing. Every day, in their work and around them they see the limits of humanitarian action, and the significance of political action. Their expectations of what should be pursued politically are understandably high.

The choice of the two case studies was logical. At a time when internal conflicts are pervasive and blow to pieces the modern state architecture, former Yugoslavia stands out as an ominous example of what unchecked nationalist outbursts can do to federal structures. Hatred of the other appears to have become the main source of national identity, as in the most primitive stages of human history. The type of conflict that we witness in the Balkans today is a cancer that can spread through the entire fabric of national and international society. Consequently, the way in which we manage -- or mismanage -- and eventually resolve this, as well as other similar conflicts, will be a test of our ability to control what could otherwise take epidemic proportions.

I am not being unduly alarmist when I say that internal conflicts gradually acquire an international dimension -- either because of the collapse of multi-ethnic states or as a result of foreign intervention -- and that their multiplication is a major blow to world stability in what appears, perhaps mistakenly, as a post-ideological phase of contemporary history.

Those who claimed that history had come to an end were simplistically premature in their judgment. History is undergoing a deep and traumatic metamorphosis that we can yet neither fully comprehend nor, worse still, claim to direct. The Balkans are a sad illustration of the sort of war from which one would expect Europe -- particularly after the CSCE framework came about -- to be immune. Not only is that not the case, but all of us appear to be sinking deeper every day into that horrendous quagmire. The cost of the war in human and ethical -- let alone political and financial -- terms is such that I and my colleagues find it increasingly hard to accept.

Former Yugoslavia must not be allowed to become a routine humanitarian operation as nothing in it is routine-like. Every day brings its new catalogue of shameless and calculated violations of human rights and humanitarian law applicable to conflicts and to basic, and universally accepted, humanitarian principles, despite the strict observance on our part of the neutrality, impartiality and non-political nature of our mandate.

The fundamental issue in former Yugoslavia the following: how long and how far can a humanitarian institution go in assisting and, to some extent, saving the victims, without damaging its image, credibility and principles and the self-respect of its staff in the face of manipulation, blackmail, abuse, humiliation and murder?

When I agreed with Ambassador Otunnu that the case of former Yugoslavia should be presented here, to be honest I had expected that we would have entered by now a new phase. I had hoped that we would be at the beginning of an end, so to speak, that we would have been struggling by now with the implementation of some peace agreement, however difficult that might have been.

Today, the prospects for peace having receded, the situation in former Yugoslavia is, in both political and humanitarian terms, more alarming than ever. Currently, we are proceeding with the winterization program, pre-positioning goods, food, medicine, fuel, clothing, for a planned beneficiary of 2.74 million in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Gaining access in order to deliver assistance is the major challenge. We shall put all our efforts to negotiate for access, with all parties, at all levels. Gaining some humanitarian space is the topmost priority of the day.

The operation in Cambodia has been selected because is represents a different case. We chose it to counter-balance the seemingly unmanageable nature of, as it were, "new generation" conflicts. Without going into the historical complexities that gradually sucked Cambodia into the war in Indo-China, it is a fact that the conflict in that country -- including the US and Vietnamese interventions in the seventies -- essentially belongs to the Cold War era.

It took twenty-three years to extract Cambodia from the war and for the international community to resolve its humanitarian problems, which is a clear indication that political settlements are possible only when the resolve of international and national actors converge. It should also serve as a warning to those who may think that protracted humanitarian disasters, as well as their root causes, can in the future be allowed to last for decades.

The fact that the Cambodian operation was successfully concluded does not mean that there were no hard choices, both operational and humanitarian, that had to be confronted. However, the overall political framework, together with clear UN division of responsibility and cooperation, greatly facilitated the pursuit of joint efforts.

The Cambodian example, like the one in El Salvador and, it is hoped, soon in Mozambique, draws the way forward. Indeed, irrespective of the generation to which the conflict belongs, a comprehensive political settlement remains the crucial key to the solution of humanitarian crises.

For me and my Office, the striking difference between Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia is that, in the former, we played our role in a global -- however difficult -- conflict resolution endeavor, whereas in the latter, our role is being played within the logistical micro-management of a major humanitarian operation at the periphery of a political vacuum.

The intimate relationship between the humanitarian and the political must be made evident. I agree that the radical distinction between the two, as propounded and hypocritically practiced since the Second World War, is obsolete. But the linkage must be reestablished without overlooking the specificity of humanitarian mandates or compromising their neutrality and impartiality.

This specificity is particularly important because humanitarian assistance is much more than relief and logistics. It is essentially and above all, about protection -- protection of victims of human rights and humanitarian violations.

Working to protect nationals in their own country in the midst of conflict, whether they be returning refugees as in Cambodia or internally displaced and besieged population as in Bosnia-Herzegovina, has challenged many existing dogmas and doctrines of national sovereignty and international responsibility. It has posed moral and legal dilemmas for UNHCR: how to protect lives and prevent even greater displacement, how to promote repatriation in the face of uncertainty and instability. There are no easy answers to these problems, but they do highlight very strongly the tension between the political and humanitarian that we are here to measure and address.

I am convinced that short, intense and representative dialogues of the type we are about to have are a necessity if we wish to exercise a modicum of control over events that most of the time seem to control us. I very much hope that this conference will be a first, intellectually-rewarding step towards greater international responsibility -- especially on the part of the political and humanitarian organs of the UN and of the various United Nations protagonists -- in preventing or resolving conflicts with their host of human tragedies. We must constantly act in the knowledge that behind our efforts lie millions of human lives.


Ambassador Yoshio Hatano, the Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and an IPA board member, opened the first plenary session of the conference by introducing the two speakers, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, the former Special Envoy of UNHCR in Cambodia (and former Director of UNTAC's Repatriation Component) and Mr. Timothy Carney, former Director of the Information/Education component of UNTAC. The participants agreed that UNTAC, as the first comprehensive, composite peacekeeping operation, demonstrated the possibility of having a humanitarian mission within the framework of a peacekeeping operation and, indeed, that their cooperation was essential to the joint success UNTAC achieved. After 18 months of crisis-laden peacekeeping, UNTAC's 15,000 military and 7,000 civilian personnel (and an estimated $2.8 billion expenditure) successfully conducted the national elections in May, 1993. Over 90% of Cambodia's registered voters braved threats of violence to go to the polls and elect a constituent assembly which proceeded to establish a constitutional monarchy under King Sihanouk and a coalition government composed of the two leading parties. The overall success of the mission and of the humanitarian mandate carried out by the UNHCR should not obscure, however, an effort to analyze and draw lessons from other not-so-successful aspects of UNTAC. 

Mr. Vieira de Mello identified an initial source of mutually supporting success in the peacemaking process. The UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), drawing on lengthy experience and extensive contacts among the various refugee factions on the Thai border, built some of the very first bridges among the warring factions. By identifying initial humanitarian common ground they helped move the parties from conflict to agreement. At the first Paris Peace Conference held in August 1989, the UNHCR made an important contribution to the development of a consensus paper on humanitarian issues and reconstruction in the "third committee," which was chaired by Australia and Japan. Although the conference as a whole failed, the agenda of the third committee became the text, word for word, of Annex 3 of the eventual Paris Agreement of October, 1991.

He stressed that the key ingredient of UNTAC's dual success as both a humanitarian and peacekeeping operation lay in the way in which the refugee problem was approached as an integral part of a global, political and military settlement of the conflict. Political agreement was the only durable solution to the humanitarian crisis, just as it was humanitarian action that made the peace agreement hold together. The peace would never have held if the humanitarian agencies had not found an effective way to repatriate and re-settle the 370,000 refugees on the Thai border, once the recruiting grounds for the Cambodian resistance to the Phnom Penh regime.

The importance of the two humanitarian agencies, UNHCR and ICRC, was reflected in the specific roles assigned to them in the UNTAC mandate. They became the "humanitarian arms" of the Cambodian peace process. They contributed both the regional expertise and the independent mandate that enabled UNTAC to reach out to parties, some of whom, such as the Khmer Rouge, were at odds with the overall peacekeeping effort. Supporting UNHCR's refugee mandate, moreover, added a welcome dimension of civic action that helped build local support for UNTAC's military functions.

Mr. Vieira de Mello noted that a third key to the success of UNHCR in UNTAC was the delegation of authority and responsibilities to the field. It gave a degree of flexibility to the operation which enabled UNHCR to adapt to local conditions and to take decisions expeditiously.

The closeness of two such complex humanitarian and peacekeeping operations inevitably gave rise to tensions in attempting to preserve the "specificity" of each function. Humanitarian efforts, for example, had to adjust to political calendars, such as when UNTAC decided to move ahead on the repatriation program before an adequate amount of land could be de-mined and assigned legal title. Mr. Vieira de Mello pointed out that UNHCR could not request the humanitarian aspect be treated differently from other aspects of the mission when the humanitarian efforts were part of the political settlement. But programs that fostered both rehabilitation and political reconciliation, such as the Quick Impact Projects that were designed to provide employment on public works, should have received more attention.

UNTAC, moreover, had a difficult -- almost impossible -- human rights mandate, which despite being very broad was unable to prevent such practices and policies as the anti-Vietnamese violence. Throughout, UNTAC's efforts to ensure respect for basic human rights had to strike a difficult balance among the four factions while trying to keep the peace process on track. Controlling the defense and public security aspects of the civil administration of UNTAC were also unsuccessful. UNTAC simply did not have the means to exercise that authority.

Mr. Carney began his presentation by noting that UNTAC experienced serious difficulties in three aspects of its humanitarian mandate. First, internally displaced persons (those driven from their homes by war but remaining within Cambodia) added a continuing political factor; they were regarded as enemies by one faction or another because each faction recruited soldiers among the displaced populations. Moreover, refugees who had settled abroad were (as supposed opponents of the Phnom Penh faction) denied the right to vote. Second, Vietnamese residents in Cambodia required (but often failed to receive) protection from Khmer Rouge attacks or, failing that, security in transit for those who decided to leave. Third, anti-personnel mines constituted an omnipresent "man-made" catastrophe.

Like Mr. Vieira de Mello, Mr. Carney found that UNTAC's success had multiple sources. The first was the global and regional consensus reflected in the Agreement and the willingness of nations to provide money and people. The second element was an authentic popular will for a peaceful solution among supporters of all factions, as was eventually demonstrated by the massive turn-out at the elections. The third source of success was Prince Sihanouk, himself, who kept the parties talking to each other. The fourth element was competent, timely action by international organizations such as UNHCR and the World Food Program (WFP), which exercised effective management on the ground, a product of their delegated authority down to the operational, field level.

Elaborating the special importance of information, Mr. Carney argued that every peacekeeping operation must have its own voice. Radio UNTAC gave transparency to the UN mission in Cambodia by enabling it to disseminate facts in a digestible, impartial manner. While explaining the humanitarian mission of UNTAC, the radio campaign informed the Cambodian people how they could benefit from the operation and how they could get involved.

On the operational level, diplomatic and political skills were vital for dealing with internal as well as regional players. Regionally, Vietnam had always been seen as a threat by Cambodians for its perceived cultural imperialism. Thailand sought ties with dissidents in the pragmatic belief that the Phnom Penh authority was too weak to deal with the Khmer Rouge. Internally, both Mr. Yasushi Akashi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Cambodia, and Mr. Behrooz Sadry, the Deputy Special Representative, tried to keep Prince Sihanouk involved in the process despite his frequent absences and threats to withdraw his political support.

There were of course operational difficulties. UNTAC was slow in appointing the Special Representative of the Secretary-General as well as in recruiting other personnel. Working with the UN headquarters in New York raised difficulties of its own, particularly when headquarters staff questioned the utility of what turned out to be the essential role played by Radio UNTAC.

In conclusion, Mr. Carney drew straightforward lessons for peacekeeping success:

·           policy-makers must provide a clear mandate;

·           all players must be "on board";

·           operational management must be adequate;

·           programs must be implemented in a timely manner.

In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the special circumstances enjoyed by UNTAC where, unlike Somalia or the former Yugoslavia, the parties were coherent entities and prepared to sign a comprehensive peace agreement. Others questioned whether, given the continuing strife during the UNTAC presence, UNTAC was able to leave stable democratic institutions behind. With the re-establishment of the monarchy and the violence surrounding the election, democratic processes face a problematic future. But the speakers responded that UNTAC did what the mandate told UNTAC to do: it put Cambodian politics in the hands of Cambodians.

The discussion produced some areas of wide agreement. First, although there were good reasons to give UNTAC an ambitious mandate, in the areas of human rights and control of the existing authorities, the mandate over-stretched all the means available. Second, despite its flaws and frequent inefficiencies, UNTAC stood as a model of how humanitarian assistance could be carried out as a part of a larger peacekeeping mission. Most participants thus seemed convinced that UNHCR was able to fulfill its humanitarian mandate because UNHCR was not political. But they also felt it was important that the political pre-conditions for an adequate provision of humanitarian assistance were present in Cambodia, unlike in other conflict areas such as Somalia and Bosnia. These vital conditions included a political agreement, a popular will to bring peace, and a specific and clear UNHCR mandate.


The second plenary session was chaired by Ambassador Herbert S. Okun, Executive Director of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps and former Special Adviser and Deputy to Cyrus Vance, International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia. The two speakers were Mr. José-Maria Mendiluce, Regional Representative, UNHCR Regional Office for Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Institutions, Brussels (and former Special Envoy of the High Commissioner in Former Yugoslavia), and Mr. Cedric Thornberry, Deputy Chief of Mission, UNPROFOR. In stark contrast to the UN's efforts in Cambodia, the participants generally viewed UNPROFOR as a disappointment. The UN's first peacekeeping force in Europe, UNPROFOR had received more attention than any other mission. Almost 27,000 UNPROFOR troops and thousands of media representatives as well as European Community monitors (in Kosovo) demonstrated the international concern for the area. A record 49 Security Council resolutions were issued. Although many lives had been saved, all this activity did not produce a political solution or a stable and enduring peace.

Mr. Mendiluce began the discussion by expressing the frustrations of his organization over the mission. Aid was extended to over 500,000 people and protection to 4.2 million, but over 200,000 had been killed, thousands raped and many thousands more displaced from their homes. Because the forced displacement of the population by terror ("ethnic cleansing") was the main objective of the war, traditional humanitarian assistance was very difficult. Furthermore, the UNHCR was placed in the ironic and awkward position of trying to save lives by helping people become refugees. 

UNHCR was the "lead agency" in the former Yugoslavia and, as such, coordinator of European Community, non-governmental and UN member state efforts to provide humanitarian aid and civilian protection. Generally, cooperation between UNHCR and UNPROFOR was good. Coordination with the military was particularly important in Bosnia-Herzegovina where troops were used to escort humanitarian convoys. UNPROFOR also helped with airlifts to isolated areas, road and bridge repair and de-mining. 

However, some aspects of the relationship between the peacekeeping mission and the UNHCR's humanitarian efforts were less than ideal. With only limited engineering and logistical support from UNPROFOR, UNHCR could not deploy in the areas of some of the worst atrocities. In addition, the presence of 7,000 soldiers raised civilian expectations that UNPROFOR would do more to provide protection than its restrictive and ambiguous mandate allowed.

Mr. Mendiluce highlighted the complex relationship between political, military and humanitarian matters. On the one hand, humanitarian agencies could not remain silent about what they witnessed: the principle of neutrality prevented them from taking political sides in a conflict, but not from speaking out on behalf of the victims. On the other hand, he argued that humanitarian concerns should not be used for political purposes, nor linked to political negotiations. UNHCR would not countenance linking the evacuation of refugees to a cease-fire, for example, nor could it accept the use of humanitarian action as a palliative for the lack of political will to confront the true causes of the war. Mendiluce warned that humanitarian action alone could never solve a conflict and, unsupported by political will, could fail to achieve its purpose: "You can't say to people who are being killed and driven from their homes, 'No, sorry, our mandate is to feed you but not to protect you'."

Mr. Mendiluce was pessimistic about the future prospects for the former Yugoslavia. The multi-ethnic character of the society had been killed by the war, leaving no solution to the refugee problem. He hoped that the international community would not be a second casualty. By intervening and failing to provide a solution, it had become part of the problem. The priority for the coming winter was to avoid further genocide by preventing blockades and shelling -- a fundamentally political challenge.

Cedric Thornberry followed Mr. Mendiluce's remarks by outlining several distinct features of the current situation in the former Yugoslavia: the conflict was occurring in more than one theater among various autonomous leaders; it was characterized by appalling disregard for human rights, the laws of war and the safety of humanitarian workers; the leaders were becoming increasingly inflexible and radicalized; and the media was having a significant impact on the decision-making process.

Mr. Thornberry then highlighted several aspects of UN involvement. First, UNPROFOR had been the victim of an international community more generous with mandates than with resources. The lack of enforcement power under Chapter VII was not the problem, as every senior UN official with experience in the former Yugoslavia quickly came to realize. The rules of engagement under Chapter VI were ample, and nearby air support provided the "ultimate deterrent." Second, he pointed to the dilemma faced by the UN in having to help the victims of ethnic cleansing to become refugees, and he argued that the only solution was to provide them with a sense of security so they would choose not to take flight. Third, the War Crimes Tribunal was a constructive means of enforcing the law against individuals. Indeed, a permanent International Criminal Court should be established, which, by applying clear and cogent standards for individual behavior, would counterbalance the sense of "humanitarian shock" engendered by the horrors occurring in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere. Finally, Mr. Thornberry identified the importance of UN public information, which meant that suffering communities did not have to rely solely on information provided by local authorities.

The speaker then outlined three principal lessons from UNPROFOR's experience:

·           Few governments were willing to pay the price in casualties of intervening for humanitarian purposes when no clear national interest was at stake.

·           The form of intervention, therefore, should be realistic: humanitarian assistance, containment and good offices. The notion of a rescue was a fantasy generated by the Western media. "The brutal fact of life," Thornberry noted in reply to a question, "is that there is no valiant light brigade or John Wayne figure galloping to the rescue in the last reel. Maybe there will be no last reel."

·           Traditional principles of peacekeeping should be adhered to: agreement and cooperation of the parties, a clear and realistic mandate from the Security Council, an adequate budget, and "transparent impartiality".

In sum, the international community should be wary of intervening in internal conflicts unless prepared for full enforcement action and to stay for up to ten years. Furthermore, he argued, peacekeeping and humanitarian action were no substitute for effective mediation and negotiation.

The first issue raised in the ensuing discussion was whether the UN should have gone into the former Yugoslavia in the first place, given the absence of a political agreement, and whether it should it pull out now. In response, Mr. Thornberry argued that the limited mandate of providing humanitarian assistance in Bosnia was implementable and could be done impartially, but the broader peacekeeping mandate in Croatia, though a fine "aspiration", could not be implemented without the cooperation of the parties.

There was a general consensus that humanitarian agencies could not be guided by the concern that humanitarian action may disrupt the "natural" settling of a conflict and distract the world from seeking a broader political solution. If they strayed from their mission of trying to save as many lives as possible, the "law of the jungle" would prevail. Negotiations with political factions to deliver aid was a price worth paying. It was understood that peacekeeping and humanitarian missions were more likely to succeed when they were the product of political agreement, but the UN could not always wait for an agreement. Relief workers, therefore, must often negotiate for access and seek to defuse tense situations. Even in the former Yugoslavia, where UNPROFOR had a mandate to use force to deliver aid, negotiation was the preferred solution because of what could happen at the blockade down the road.

An important theme in the discussion was the possible contradiction between UNHCR's and UNPROFOR's mandate to provide assistance and protection to victims, on the one hand, and the UN Human Rights Commission's mandate to document and denounce human rights abusers, on the other. Acknowledging the tension, it was argued that a balanced position could be struck. Indeed, speaking out on human rights abuses did not necessarily hurt humanitarian efforts, because it raised the moral authority of the UNHCR and UNPROFOR.

On finding a broader solution to the problems in the former Yugoslavia, it was generally agreed that the political will was lacking to impose a military solution. Although a precise mandate could probably be extracted from the forty-nine resolutions adopted by the Security Council, the will to take firm and decisive action was absent.

In the evening , following a dinner in the former residence of President Woodrow Wilson -- 28th President of the United States and a former President of Princeton University -- Mr. Kofi Annan, Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations, gave the conference's keynote address.

Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Action

Mr. Kofi Annan

Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations

Ms. Hauser, Mrs. Ogata, Mr. Otunnu, distinguished fellow participants:

First of all, I should like to thank the organizers of this conference for inviting me to speak on such a vital and timely topic. It is both a pleasure and an honor to be here. I think it is particularly significant that our deliberations should take place in the very environs where Woodrow Wilson once taught; for President Wilson was passionately devoted to internationalism, and was one of the architects of the League of Nations. Indeed, the issues on which I have been asked to speak -- peace-keeping and humanitarian action -- were as interrelated and fundamental in his mind as they are in ours.

Of course, both the nature and scope of peace-keeping operations have changed dramatically since the first peace-keeping operation was undertaken 45 years ago. These operations are now expanding horizontally as well as vertically. Not only is the total number of operations rising, but the responsibilities of each mission are broadening. We now have 17 missions in the field, the majority of which have been established within the past three years alone. This trend is likely to continue. We are deployed in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Our range is global, our tasks are global, and our vision must be global.

Moreover, our responsibilities have become more varied than even the most prophetic among us would have envisioned before the end of the Cold War. In the earliest peace-keeping operations, or what we call "traditional" peace-keeping, United Nations forces were interposed between belligerent parties, principally to monitor a cease-fire and to report on the implementation of the peace agreement that had brought them there. The United Nations still performs these functions successfully in Cyprus and on the Golan Heights.

But in recent years the international community has mandated the United Nations to undertake assignments as varied as the monitoring of elections, troop withdrawals, and human rights violations. We assist in the resettlement of refugees and displaced persons; we help to rebuild economic and social infrastructures; and, as this audience is especially aware, we protect the delivery of humanitarian aid.

We are usually summoned when all other efforts have failed. We are asked to help achieve what conflicting parties are unable to achieve without us -- namely, a just and durable peace -- and we are asked to undertake our mission with limited financial, material and human resources.

We have no standing army, no imperial ambitions, and we are obliged to stay within the boundaries of a particular mandate that must be approved by 15 nations from different cultural and political systems representing every continent in the world. If this description makes our tasks sound almost impossible, that is only because they are almost impossible, since the very nature of peace-keeping operations involves, in a way, trying to make order out of chaos.

At the same time, we do have an unusual set of qualifications. We must embody, almost by definition, scrupulous impartiality, broad-based political support, and deep credibility.

We possess a dedicated, courageous group of men and women, both military and civilian. They have proven themselves willing to risk discomfort, uncertainty, and even their lives in order to help tens of thousands of suffering, desperate human beings who are unable to help themselves. We are devoted to promoting the pursuit of human dignity. Whatever else we lack, we are the proud possessors of a noble cause.

When the Cold War ended, much became possible that had not been possible before. The potential for consensus in the Security Council created an impetus for the international community to extend the reach of peace-keeping to comprise peace-enforcement. In terms of the Charter, this has meant that we have been able not only to invoke Chapter VI, which deals with the pacific settlement of disputes, but also Chapter VII, which makes provision for the application of armed force.

At the same time, the end of the Cold War lifted some other constraints. Whereas in the past most peace-keeping operations -- with notable exceptions such as the Congo and Cyprus -- stopped at the borders of sovereign States, in the post-Cold War era, United Nations forces are equally as likely to be deployed within States. Clearly, there are civil wars that pose a threat to international peace and stability which must be resolved before they destabilize an entire region.

This has also been occurring against the background of a very important change in the attitude of the international community toward the central focus of this conference: "humanitarian action". The international community has begun to take the position that Governments can no longer hide human rights abuses behind the shield of national sovereignty. Respect for the dignity of the individual and for his or her vital human needs can no longer be said to stop at national borders. The starving child on our TV screen has become as much our concern as his Government's.

In Iraq, we have been asked to shield minorities within the territorial boundaries of that country. In Somalia, we have been mandates to restore a safe and secure environment within the territory of that member state. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Croatia, the United Nations has been given a mandate to intervene in order to protect minorities and to protect the delivery of humanitarian aid. (In fact, the acronym UNPROFOR stands for United Nations Protection Force.) In El Salvador and Cambodia, our efforts have helped reshape the politics and the future of societies. The examples could go on.

Of course, when we are dealing with humanitarian action within an area of conflict, such as in the former Yugoslavia, there are internationally-agreed rules which remain relevant. The Geneva Conventions of 1949, and their Additional Protocols, still apply in states of belligerency, though they are not always honored by the parties. We are bound to act within the mandate of Security Council resolutions, and we are obliged to observe the Rules of Engagement that are promulgated each time United Nations forces enter into a conflict situation. The use of force by the United Nations in recent situations has not been arbitrary; it has occurred only with the authority of the Security Council and for purposes authorized under these mandates.

Before discussing these new operations, however, permit me to open a parenthesis about our traditional peace-keeping operations. United Nations peace-keepers have, on many occasions, seen fit to factor in a humanitarian element of their own into their work, simply out of concern for the local populations. These actions in no way contradicted their mandates; on the contrary, they enriched them. In southern Lebanon, for example, UNIFIL members have for years provided succor to local civilians. In the protected areas of Croatia, and in the afflicted areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, barely a day passes without a military unit, or an individual soldier or United Nations civilian, offering to those in need, food, clothing, or medicines, or attempting to facilitate family visits or an exchange of communications. I am aware, for example, of an UNPROFOR military unit in Croatia that every evening gives away warm food from its mess hall to local village residents.

And I can assure you that there are instances in Somalia or Cambodia or in El Salvador, where United Nations personnel -- without usurping anyone's authority -- constantly utilize their imagination to perform services that will alleviate the human suffering endemic in all states of belligerency.

But permit me now to say something about mandated humanitarian action. In recognition of the importance of humanitarian action in peacekeeping operations, the Security Council, has in recent months, been incorporating in its resolutions a direct reference to such action. In fact, we are now increasingly called upon to implement mandates that include military, political and humanitarian aspects, a kind of three-in-one package. This more complex undertaking reveals an evolution in the thinking of the international community, an approach that would not have been possible during the Cold War. The Security Council has, in effect, endorsed the words of Shakespeare, that "the quality of mercy is not strained", and attempted to give those words military and political muscle. The world community is saying now that individual States may not pick and choose where human rights abuses are permissible. They are simply not permissible.

But a change in quantity, as has been said, produces a change in quality. Add one atom of oxygen to hydrogen oxide and you have water. And if one adds humanitarian action to missions that have in the past been primarily military and political, one has changed the quality of the mission. Consequently, there is now a need to address the new relationship among all three components of such peace-keeping operations.

There are some who argue that the humanitarian aspect of peace-keeping operations should be separated from the military and political elements. Some organizations fear that military action makes their job more difficult and tarnishes their image as a disinterested party. However, many of the same groups who feel that they have the right to take whatever action they deem necessary often assume that UN forces must be available to protect them and it. That cannot be. There must be coordination if there is to be an effective operation. While I can understand the wish to maintain control over one's own portion of a joint operation, and much as I sympathize with the efforts of humanitarian agents and activities to retain an objective position and perspective, I do not think it would be effective for each segment of a mission to have complete independence. The best compromise, I believe, is to have an integrated operation, if not necessarily a unified one.

The various elements of a peace-keeping operation should complement one another, but they do not have to march in lock step. They should comprise, in other words, a kind of loose confederation, with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General at the top. It is he, or she, who must retain responsibility for the whole of the operation, even while the various elements take the initiatives necessary to realize their mandates. This loose confederation of which I have spoken tends to work extremely well in operations where there is no active conflict. Cooperation is often a positive experience when it is directed toward the fulfillment of peaceful solutions; post-conflict humanitarian action, such as the successful refugee return and rehabilitation activities in Namibia and Cambodia, are particularly good examples of this. But problems do arise when the confederation attempts to achieve objectives amidst the strains and tensions of an ongoing conflict. In the midst of raging wars, there is no such thing as an immaculate intervention; peace-keeping and humanitarian activities are inevitably messy and fraught with dangerous pitfalls. When the reason for a humanitarian crisis is man-made -- when starvation, for instance, is not caused by a drought, but by the willful blocking of food supplies by armed elements -- there cannot be a purely humanitarian response. Tensions between humanitarians and peace-keepers can, and do, then arise.

For can we, the international community, spill blood to save lives, and still remain spotless ourselves? The lessons of Somalia are still being learned, but some questions already suggest themselves. Having gone through a form of "reality therapy" in Mogadishu, will the international community continue to have the stomach for such humanitarian interventions? (Until the world heeds the call of one of my distinguished predecessors, Sir Brian Urquhart, to create a standing United Nations force for such emergencies, I doubt we will ever be immune from the clamor to "bring the troops home" as soon as the first casualties occur.) Can humanitarian objectives be fulfilled at the point of a gun? If not, can they be fulfilled at all, particularly if the guns are instead pointed at the humanitarians? When it is impossible to get relief through to the needy, can enough sustainable political will be found to take all the necessary measures required to get it through? If not, can the international community, by inaction, condone the status quo and condemn hundreds of thousands of civilians to death by default?

These are not easy questions. When the international community attempts to answer them collectively -- as we are still trying to do in Somalia -- it is clear that we must do so in partnership, and that the confederation to which I have referred should involve an effective consultative mechanism. The military, political, and humanitarian components must each ensure that none of them takes an initiative which might compromise the others. The only way this can be ensured is through dialogue, the sharing of information in a constructive and timely manner, and the mutual reinforcement of each other's endeavors -- in other words, the very pattern that we try to uphold in the UN at the Headquarters level. The cooperation in New York and Geneva between the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Peace-keeping Operations (and personally amongst Sadako Ogata, Jan Eliasson and myself) is both rewarding and fruitful. We are all, I know, equally determined that this should also be the case in the field -- and I call upon the NGOs to join us in making this cooperation work.

I would like to pause for a moment now in order to reflect upon circumstances, and to make a point based upon the very auspices under which we are gathered here. I am speaking to you now after we have just eaten, and I am speaking to you about issues that are, in the final analysis, highly moral. And it is in this context that I would like to quote for you a phrase from the German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, and to apply that citation to all society, not simply to our small group: First comes food, and then morality. The peoples of the world must first be fed before we can speak convincingly about a global system of international peace and security.

When I mention food I am using it as a metaphor for broad-based economic security, since economic security is a basic ingredient in any system of peace-building, and I believe that providing economic security is a moral issue. We have reached a point when we cannot be satisfied with merely keeping peace, or even enforcing peace. We must also be prepared to build peace, which means that we must be ready to help a devastated nation and restore its economic and social infrastructure. We must be prepared to assist in rebuilding roads and schools and hospitals; to advise on how to hold free and honest elections, to construct a judicial system, to restore confidence in the police and armed forces, to extend monetary credits, and to provide incentive for growth. In short, we must be prepared to help people who have for long periods of time been exploited, and often brutalized, to empower themselves.

If these tasks sound expensive, then let us remind ourselves that war is much more expensive than peace, that despair is much more ominous than hope, and that chauvinism and protectionism are much less productive than international cooperation. I am not suggesting that the United Nations should assume the functions of government for any sovereign State. I am only saying that we must promote sustained development, because, in the long run, it will prove not only more humanitarian, but also less costly.

The fact is that political stability and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin. They cannot be realistically separated. Fortunately, this integral relationship was recognized early on in the United Nations.

In general, I believe that the international humanitarian and development agencies should, as early as possible, establish and maintain a program of action in regions where peace-keeping operations are established. Their early presence would make it easier for them to assist in the transition to a peaceful economy once hostilities have ended. After a conflict has been resolved, large segments of the militarized population will have to be demobilized, and men and women will need to find productive work in the civilian sector. Their integration into the peace-building process will enhance political stability and contribute to economic growth and well-being.

Of course, I am making the assumption here that the international community will support peace-keeping in all its aspects -- financial, logistical and political. The United Nations is, to a great extent, what its Member States want it to be, but unless those States provide it with the means to accomplish the tasks they have assigned to it, they cannot expect the United Nations to do what they have asked it to do. This is true for peace-keepers and for humanitarian agencies. We must be ready to act when we are asked to act. We must have the means to do what we are asked to do. We must be permitted to serve those we are mandated to serve. And, to achieve these ends, we must let nothing deter us from working together as closely, harmoniously, and productively as possible.

A few miles from here, in Philadelphia, another event of international importance occurred. As the American Declaration of Independence was being negotiated, Benjamin Franklin, the aging diplomat, seemed not to be following the process too closely. He stared, very often, at the crest on the chair at the center of the stage, which was adorned with a sculpted sun. At a crucial point in the meetings, however, he rose suddenly and spoke. Referring to the chair, he said that "I have wondered whether our sun is setting or rising. I have concluded that ours is a rising sun." But, far from coddling his audience, he then went on to underline how smaller differences could undermine larger aims, and concluded by saying, "We must hang together, for if we do not hang together, we shall certainly all hang separately." Despite the fact that Franklin's concerns were more national and political than international and humanitarian, I feel that both his points are extremely germane to our meeting here tonight.

As our roles and the demands upon us expand, we must work together to develop objectives that are consonant and means that are compatible. We owe nothing less to those whose needs and safety have been entrusted to us. I remain convinced that our concerted effort is the best -- indeed the only -- response. There are too many areas in the world where the darkness of man's inhumanity to man prevails. I believe that, if we hang together, we can help the sun to rise in many of them. And, with you, I look forward to that challenge with great hope.

Thank you very much.

* * * * * *

Following Mr. Annan's speech, an interesting exchange of views took place on the issue of using force to provide humanitarian relief. Are we willing to pay the cost, in lives and money, of enforcement action? If not, what alternatives exist? One participant maintained that the future of the UN lay in preventive action and political solutions. The UN, therefore, should project itself as a provider of relief, conciliator and, when necessary, protector of relief operations. Mr. Annan agreed in principle but argued that it would not always be possible to provide relief without forceful action. Should the UN then do nothing? Generally, the participants acknowledged that both alternatives had problems: on the one hand, the use of force could escalate and be counter-productive for a humanitarian mission; on the other hand, doing nothing in the face of every minor challenge to the peacekeepers was hard to accept when people were starving. It was also acknowledged, however, that the debate was academic as long as governments providing troops to these operations were not prepared to risk casualties. The only choice in such circumstances, though not fully satisfactory, was to negotiate and hopefully save some lives.


When Should the United Nations Intervene?

Under the chairmanship of Ambassador David Malone, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada, Ambassador Richard Butler, Permanent Representative of Australia, and Ambassador Razali Ismail, Permanent Representative of Malaysia, opened the discussion of one of the most contentious issues now under consideration by the United Nations community. When should the United Nations intervene -- by force if necessary -- for humanitarian purposes ?

One panelist began by drawing the participants' attention to two tensions underlying the issue of intervention -- one between national sovereignty and collective responsibilities and a second between national policy and national public opinion. Reducing those tensions required an appreciation of the three circumstances that tended to generate interventions:

·           When the international community agreed that a threat to international security or an international disaster was sufficiently severe. The underlying problem here was that a particular consensus may turn out to be partial, favoring a rescue of one country and neglecting another, despite similar need.

·           When public opinion demanded or mobilized decision-makers (the famous "CNN News Effect"). Its danger resided in the fickleness of public opinion. Must one leave when the public becomes bored?

·           When it was feasible to integrate the humanitarian action into a peacekeeping operation.

Another panelist proceeded to outline the perils of excessive interventionism. Interventions should be motivated only by legal and moral considerations. Widespread, severe violations of accepted global standards of behavior can legitimately generate an intervention, such as that in support of the Kurds in northern Iraq. But, he warned, even legitimate interventions sometimes deteriorate into contests for political advantage or raise the fears of the less powerful states that a "new global order" will be imposed upon them by force. To respond to these concerns, the international community should try to build greater consensus before taking forcible action. It should guard especially against the tendency to disguise blatantly political interventions as humanitarian actions and as one way to ensure this it should make sure that interventions reflect a greater equity of principle, being prepared, for example, to intervene as readily for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories as for the Kurds in northern Iraq. Many of the dilemmas raised by forcible humanitarian intervention can be avoided, he concluded, by more active efforts to achieve political solutions to ongoing disputes or by a resort to regional action before the matter is raised at the global level.

In the discussion following, participants focused on the decision to begin an intervention and then on the means of ending one. Turning to legal justifications, many noted that the Chapter VII "threat or breach of the peace" international standard for UN Charter intervention was at best incomplete. Certain crimes against humanity (such as genocide) should give rise to a right to intervene. More generally, there needs to be a method of bringing humanitarian crises directly to the attention of the Security Council before they escalate to international war; perhaps through Article 65, which allocates such authority to the Economic and Social Council, or through a broadened interpretation of Article 99, which authorizes access by the Secretary-General. Although increased attention was desirable, many agreed that nineteenth century British Prime Minister Gladstone's admonition about intervention was still worth heeding. An intervention, he once observed, should be "rare, deliberate, decisive in character and effective for its end." The participants concluded by warning that although intervention may sometimes be necessary to alleviate a humanitarian crisis, ultimately, one cannot solve a humanitarian crisis by force. The use of force, moreover, may further complicate the political solution that an aggravated humanitarian crisis will in the end require.

The Role of the United Nations in the Prevention of Humanitarian Emergencies

This panel, which was chaired by Mr. Alvaro de Soto, Senior Political Adviser to the Secretary-General, and included introductory remarks by Mr. Jan Eliasson, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Mr. Allen Jones, Director of Operations of the World Food Program (Ethiopia), took up the issue of whether the international community could effectively prevent humanitarian emergencies. How could policies be set without having to depend on shocking television images to spark action? How could those on the ground prevent repetition of tragedies through emergency plans and resource creation schemes?

Several participants emphasized that early action was a greater problem than early warning. In Somalia, for example, all the warnings from the press and non-governmental organizations (NGO's) did not lead to action. The difficulty of action in that and other conflict situations was access to those in need.

The media plays a mixed role in this context. On the one hand, the media can bring crises to the attention of the world and thereby spur action. On the other hand, the media does not always keep its spotlight on a crisis until it is over, and it tends to focus more on humanitarian disasters than the successes of humanitarian action. These practices will not change, but it was suggested by one participant that the UN system could become more adept in the "black arts" of media handling, by flying reporters to locations where public awareness was low, for example. Another suggestion for ensuring that humanitarian action received appropriate public attention was to establish awards for humanitarian achievements, such as prevention of the drought in southern Africa.

A second theme permeating the discussion was that humanitarian action should be placed in the broader context of economic and social development. It does not begin and end with humanitarian relief, as the example of food security illustrates. Food security requires ready access to reserves, delivery systems, cash, and personnel. It requires more fully developed local economies, political structures and national policies to deal with impending emergencies, perhaps even the establishment of contingency plans at the grassroots level. So that humanitarian relief does not generate dependency, dividends in the form of physical structures, wells, ponds, and irrigation equipment should be left behind. For this reason, it was noted that agencies like the World Bank were coming to appreciate the importance of relief work to broader economic development. Better coordination among the donors and deliverers of aid, including regional and sub-regional organizations, would enhance the capacity of all to prevent or respond effectively to future crises.

Two specific strategies for humanitarian action were discussed to illustrate the positive and negative dimensions of the relationship between relief and broader political and economic goals. One is the use of so-called "food-for-work" schemes in the selection of recipients of food aid, by which only people willing to be part of a large scale employment project would be provided with food. Such a program helps identify those in real need and helps build assets for their communities. The second strategy is "food-for-weapons", an idea that was seriously considered but rejected for Somalia because the types of weapons likely to be turned in were not the most lethal. Moreover, one participant argued, a gun was worth more to many soldiers than one allotment of food, because a soldier with a gun rarely went hungry.

The issue of internally displaced persons came up in this session. It was pointed out that there would be a contradiction in establishing an international organization to deal exclusively with the internally displaced. On the other hand, the UNHCR did not have the capacity to handle all displaced persons. Its current policy was to deal with situations on a case-by-case basis, intervening when appropriate on behalf of "potential refugees", i.e. displaced persons who were about to flow across borders. In this regard, another participant said that UNICEF had on occasion been tempted to advise the internally-displaced to cross borders in order to obtain the protection of the UNHCR.

The panel concluded with discussion of some lessons from successful experiences of humanitarian action. Famine was prevented in India and Botswana, partly because the state in these two countries assumed responsibility for the well-being of its citizens. The UN, it was suggested, should be imbuing states with humanitarian values and assisting in the design of state structures to implement those values. In southern Africa, famine was avoided by timely warning from NGO's and coordinated action by the UN, African governments and the WFP. In Central America, the refugee problem had essentially been resolved and similar successes were achieved in Cambodia and Mozambique, partly because they were linked to successful peacemaking and peacekeeping. Opportunities were available, one participant concluded, the challenge was for the international community to become more strategic about where and how it acts.

Should (can) Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Action Be Separated?

Mr. Iqbal Riza, Assistant-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations, chaired the panel and two panelists -- Mr. Ismat Kittani, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, and Mr. Lionel Rosenblatt, President of Refugees International -- led off the discussion.

The panel expressed a striking agreement from the very outset. Concurring with the remarks of Kofi Annan in his address of the previous evening, the panel endorsed the idea that peacekeeping and humanitarian action should work together whenever that was feasible. Modern warfare generates enormous needs for humanitarian assistance to the victims. Effective assistance requires an environment of peace and security. Where, therefore, a peace treaty existed, the task lay in the effective coordination of humanitarian action and peacekeeping with a view to maintaining a unity of goals directed toward ending the conflict and reconciling the parties. Here a unity of command and control was important.

Views diverged on how that unity should be achieved. In Cambodia, UNTAC seemed to have achieved the right mix of independence and unity of purpose, but generalization proved difficult. One model -- the Special Representative as "czar" -- met with little support. It failed to acknowledge the independent mandate of the humanitarian agencies, both private voluntary agencies and international organizations. Mere "coordination," on the other hand, seemed to many of the participants to be an arrangement that would not be likely to achieve an adequate unity of purpose.

Views also diverged when the consideration turned to humanitarian action conducted without the benefit of an effective peace agreement, such as in Bosnia or Somalia. Could the humanitarian actors maintain neutrality? The role of humanitarian agencies in a Chapter VII enforcement action, in which the United Nations, itself, necessarily becomes a party to a conflict (redressing aggression), raised even more concerns for agencies dedicated to the aid of victims irrespective of the conflict. The panel ended by noting the dilemma of desperate need for humanitarian action and yet the dangerous vulnerability of humanitarian actors in circumstances, such as Bosnia and Somalia, where there is no peace that can be kept.

The Consideration of Humanitarian Issues Before the Security Council

Under the chairmanship of Mr. Jan Eliasson, Ambassador Diego Arria, former Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations, and Ambassador David Hannay, UN Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, led the discussion in this panel on the nature and role of the Security Council in humanitarian action, both as a matter of policy and as practiced in specific cases. By way of introduction, it was noted that humanitarian action and diplomacy had co-existed for many years, but recently their relationship had changed dramatically. The scale of humanitarian suffering and the capacity to effect change grew immensely with the end of the Cold War. The "CNN Effect" had a particularly strong impact in the humanitarian field, both positively by exposing horrific situations and negatively by stampeding international action.

The discussion revolved around four important cases:

Northern Iraq, concerning which the Security Council adopted Resolution 688 calling for an end to the repression of the Kurdish population, and the US, UK and France established "safe havens" (currently monitored by UN guards with the consent of Iraq) and a no-fly zone.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, where there had never been support for major military action despite the emergency. Nevertheless, troops were eventually sent to aid UNHCR, preventing a much wider tragedy -- a modest humanitarian success for which too little credit had been given.

Somalia, where the situation steadily worsened despite the involvement of many humanitarian agencies in the early stages. The limited presence of the first United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I) had no greater success so the Security Council authorized humanitarian action by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Significantly, the unusual step of characterizing the humanitarian situation in Somalia as a "threat to international peace and security" was initiated by the non-aligned countries on the Council.

Angola, in which the actions of the UN followed the practices of Cold War era peacekeeping operations, with no military presence. The "ghastly" results seemed to indicate that diligent separation of political and humanitarian efforts was no longer possible or appropriate in all cases.

Participants generally welcomed the fact that the Security Council was devoting more attention to humanitarian issues and agreed that political, military and humanitarian elements could not be separated completely. But there was concern that the entanglement of political and humanitarian considerations was damaging the image of the United Nations, evidenced by the negative reception given to the Secretary-General in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. Humanitarian operations were described as the most "genuine" activity of the UN and the "soul" of the international community, as compared to peacekeeping where the most powerful member states were more apt to push their political agendas and the military tended to dominate decision-making. UN involvement in El Salvador, substantially led by civilians, was contrasted with the disastrous experiences in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia, two operations described as having been dominated by military leaders.

A number of specific problems with the way in which the Security Council responded to humanitarian issues were identified. The lack of resolve by major powers in the face of challenges from small states and factions, combined with ambiguous mandates and unclear political direction from the Council, were generating a sense of paralysis in the international community. Furthermore, information flow to the Council was poor, particularly from the Secretariat and from military commanders in the field. Finally, the perennial problem of lack of resources was reflected by the fact that securing "voluntary" contributions was easier than assessed ones.

Among the suggestions on how to deal with these and other problems were the following:

·           allocating more responsibility to regional organizations for dealing with certain local conflicts;

·           encouraging more direct reporting to the Council from the people on the ground;

·           including certain humanitarian functions with clear military benefits (like de-mining and demilitarization) in assessed budgets;

·           establishing a humanitarian protection force --"Blue Guards" -- empowered to use "robust" methods to ensure aid reaches distressed areas;

·           leaving responsibility for fleshing out vague mandates with the Secretariat, bearing in mind that the decision to use force was the prerogative of the Council.

There was little consensus on any of these prescriptions, but it was generally understood that the Security Council would and should be involved in complex humanitarian situations. For that reason, cooperation between the humanitarian agencies and the Council had to be enhanced.

Humanitarian Action and Human Rights

This panel was chaired by Mr. Michael Posner, Executive Director of the Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, and the panelists were Professor Richard Falk of Princeton University and Ms. Felice Gaer, Director, Jacob Blaustein Institute for Human Rights. The main theme of the discussion was the special tension between humanitarian action and human rights (particularly crimes against humanity), in addition to the general tension between humanitarian mandates and security common to the entire conference. When, if ever, should human rights abuses be overlooked in the context of a mission to provide humanitarian relief?

One participant suggested that, to the extent possible, there should be consent for humanitarian action so that it could be separated from political action not contingent upon consent. In post-crisis situations, such as Cambodia and El Salvador, there was an easier alliance between humanitarian action and the promotion of human rights resulting from comprehensive political agreements, than in the situation of failed states, such as in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.

Certain institutional features of relief operations that inhibit better protection of human rights were identified. Most aid workers fail to report human rights abuses because they worry it would jeopardize their impartiality. Many are inadequately trained on human rights issues and do not recognize any but the grossest abuses. And no clear lines of communication from humanitarian workers to international organizations exist to pass on information about human rights violations.

Two specific problems associated with human rights activism in humanitarian missions are the selective application of standards and the difficulty of preserving access to those in need. Regarding the first, the legitimacy of intervention on the grounds of human rights requires consistency in both application and execution -- an element that is sometimes missing from the activities of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Regarding the second, an activist stance may compromise the ability of humanitarian workers to function in areas where human rights abuses are taking place regularly. For that reason, the timing of human rights-related action is important; it is harder to influence a human rights situation during a conflict than before or after.

·           Among the recommendations and institutional reforms suggested were the following:

·           greater use of war crimes tribunals and "truth commissions" to improve the ethical environment, even if the guilty parties cannot be prosecuted and punished;

·           a new convention for rules governing intervention in civil strife which emphasizes human rights;

·           establishment of a High Commissioner for Human Rights;

·           expansion of peace-keeping missions to include on-site human rights monitors and institution-building in the form of an independent police force and judiciary;

·           development of communication channels from peacekeepers and humanitarian workers on the ground to authorities that can use human rights information sensitively yet effectively.

An issue on which there was clear consensus among the participants was that humanitarian workers and peacekeepers should receive human rights training. There should be no absolute bar to their reporting aggressively on what they see, so long as humanitarian access is not thereby jeopardized. Nor should the need for neutrality deter human rights activism. Rather than a misguided tit-for-tat notion of fairness, the guiding principle should be impartiality, which implies an obligation to report regularly and rigorously on any abuse whenever and by whomever committed.

Concluding Remarks

Mrs. Ogata stated that the objective of the conference had been to bring together those working on the political side with those who, like herself, were working on the humanitarian side and to see where their views converged and where they diverged. Speaking from the perspective of a humanitarian activist, she drew the attention of the participants to a few particularly important lessons that could help improve humanitarian protection in the future.

First, several crucial elements could account for the differing outcomes of the United Nation's operations in Cambodia and Yugoslavia. In Cambodia, the UNHCR was there aiding refugees for over ten years; while in Yugoslavia, the organization lacked familiarity with the kind of conflict that emerged. This should be kept in mind as a warning when the United Nations considers possible action in the former Soviet Union, where the level of UN expertise is also very limited. The crucial difference, however, lay in the existence of a political framework. In Cambodia, there was a peace accord. As a result, the structure of UNTAC could be very carefully worked out and thus be solution-oriented, with each part assigned to a person or an agency. Namibia had and Mozambique seemed to have similar advantages. But in the case of Yugoslavia, there was no peace agreement and the conflict raged on.

These cases, she suggested, illustrated the basic elements of a successful convergence between political and humanitarian action:

·           a political framework for peace, on the understanding that peacekeeping and humanitarian missions were more likely to succeed when they were the product of political agreement, reflecting the will of the parties to cooperate;

·           a familiarity with the situation;

·           a clear differentiation of responsibilities;

·           the availability of adequate resources; and

·           wise political judgment on the part of the leaders who are given operational responsibilities.

Second, she added that the humanitarian mandate, or humanitarian mission, must be clearly understood and its "specificity" respected. It was not only about relief or giving food. Playing the role of "Santa Claus" did not lead to solutions. The mission was protecting people -- ensuring the security of victims on all sides and at all times. This mandate was what generated the principles of neutrality and impartiality. This was why the UNHCR and the ICRC were not simply driven by CNN News. She cited as an example the recent coup in Burundi, in which some thirty thousand people fled the country. Immediately, UNHCR and the ICRC started sending blankets, tents and staff into the region. Human need and not CNN News drove humanitarian action. Sometimes the media did distort the priorities of humanitarian relief but she also acknowledged that the humanitarian agencies could use the media to build needed support.

UNHCR's mandate, though clear for refugees, was less so for the internally displaced. As authorized by the General Assembly and specified in UNHCR's statute, the mandate extended to people who crossed borders. When, however, the displaced had not crossed borders, UNHCR lacked a general mandate. For such people, coordination in the UN system as a whole was very important and the role of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs became vital. Those who were driven from their homes by armed conflict should be helped by the UNHCR, when the General Assembly or the Secretary-General so requested. Those who were displaced by natural disasters, should be aided by the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO), which was part of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) were the agencies that had special expertise in dealing with people who were displaced for reasons of poverty and environmental disaster. Within the bounds of the practical, the United Nations had to make sure that no one fell through the protection net that could be provided by the UN system as a whole.

Mrs. Ogata concluded that the convergence of the humanitarian with the political was really, in the final analysis, the convergence of a solution. Humanitarian crises had to be addressed. For a short while we could solve them by giving humanitarian relief, but the real solution in the end lay in political action. Peacekeeping and peace enforcement, too, were means to reach a solution which was basically political. The political problem, moreover, should not be given the facade of being dealt with through humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian agencies sometimes felt, to use José Maria Mendiluce's word, like "orphans" because, as in Yugoslavia, they were left to do the humanitarian work with no prospect for political solution. The moral, Sadako Ogata observed, was: "We need to work together."

Several concrete steps beginning to take place might help. The humanitarian agencies were encouraged that the political parts of the UN, especially the Security Council, had begun focusing on the humanitarian issues. For their part, the humanitarian agencies hoped for an opportunity to provide more information, particularly on the humanitarian implications of political decisions. The UNHCR would appreciate, she added, an opportunity to present their perspectives at relevant Security Council and General Assembly meetings and to contribute to the training of peacekeepers in a code of conduct that respected humanitarian law and principles.

In the long run, even the best political solutions would require economic and social institution-building -- the foundations of a just society. This conference concentrated on the first steps toward peace, the resolution of conflict and the support of humanitarian action, beginning what she hoped would be an expanded dialogue between the humanitarian and the political parts of the larger UN community.

Mr. Otunnu, complementing Sadako Ogata's focus on humanitarian issues, emphasized the political aspect of the themes the conference had addressed. He asked the participants to recall four especially important issues which together outlined the most pressing challenges ahead.

The first was the question of how to coordinate humanitarian action with peacekeeping. Clearly the old notion that the three sectors -- military, political and humanitarian -- could be separated was now as invalid as the view that they all could be subsumed in one organic process. Kofi Annan offered the outlines of an appropriate architecture when he spoke of the need for "confederation," something which would make it possible for coordination at various levels without compromising the identities and separate missions of the various groups.

The second issue was the use of force. Here too we were witnessing an evolution. A few years ago, the mere discussion of how peacekeepers might use minimal force or even the appearance of force to facilitate delivery of relief would have created a scandal within the humanitarian community. Today we would all agree that some measure of selective force in certain situations seemed unavoidable. The question now was when to use force, by whom and how to manage that use of force. A blunt force led to more problems than solutions. We have also come to accept that the Security Council might not have a choice but to intervene for humanitarian purposes. But recent actions have tended to be ad hoc, not always very consistent, and not always easy to justify. Work needed to be done, Otunnu noted, to provide a more coherent legal and political basis for such action by the Security Council, making sure that Council decisions, unlike some of the Bosnia resolutions, were capable of being implemented in the field and, unlike some of the Somalia resolutions, advanced the humanitarian agenda.

Third was the issue of the much talked about political will -- a question of states pledging the necessary means, money, men and women. Despite the relative consensus that had emerged on the principle of humanitarian intervention, the political will to act was not in place. Apart from NATO perhaps, neither the UN nor any other multilateral agency could undertake the kind of tasks which the United nations had been seeking to assign to Sadako Ogata and to Jan Eliasson and to Kofi Annan. We needed to ask: "What can be done to generate that so-called political will -- a will that will make it possible for the publics and political leaderships in the United States and other Western countries and developing countries to support the enterprise which the UN has been asked to undertake?"

Fourth was the regional temptation. Partly as a measure of desperation, because the UN was inundated by requests and demands, and partly because the Charter provided for this division of labor, it was natural to think of regional organizations playing a more important role. But today regional organizations were at best a hope. If that was to change, then the UN must work together with other actors on the international scene to make it possible for regional groups to play that role. The OAU, for example, had explicitly excluded from its current agenda everything the conference had discussed -- peacekeeping and humanitarian action, allocating them to the responsibility of the United Nations. The OAU felt that it must limit itself to the much earlier stage of preventive action, of early warning, of peacemaking and mediation -- important areas that require political innovation, but avoid the operational and heavy expenses the OAU could not afford. Apart from Western Europe, this was likely to be the realistic role of regional organizations.

Olara Otunnu concluded the conference on a serious and determined note, one warranted by the humanitarian crises we observed around the world. Unfortunately, the means -- political, financial and otherwise -- did not exist for the United Nations to prevent or halt major tragedies now unfolding. But, he asked, was this grim outcome morally acceptable? Would it be accepted by the publics of countries where public opinion was active ? Could we live with such a situation ? If not, the conclusion must be that, in spite of the bleak facts and hard choices discussed at the conference, there was no choice but to work together -- however difficult, however arduous -- to move the frontier and to make a difference.



Mrs. Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva

Mr. Olara A. Otunnu, President of IPA


Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Envoy, UNHCR

Dr. Michael W. Doyle, Vice President, IPA


* indicates unable to attend

Ms. Anette Andersson, Associate Expert, UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Mr. Kofi A. Annan, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations

Ambassador Diego Arria, former Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the UN, IPA Board

Mr. David S. Bassiouni, Senior Policy Adviser, Office of Emergency Programmes, UNICEF

Professor Henry S. Bienen, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Mr. Landrum R. Bolling, Senior Advisor, Conflict Management Group, Cambridge, MA

* Dr. Rony Brauman, Président, Médecins sans Frontières, Paris

H.E. Mr. Wilhelm Breitenstein, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN

Mr. Richard P. Brown, Jr., Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; IPA Board

H.E. Mr. Richard Butler, Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN

Mr. Timothy Carney, U.S. State Department; former Director, Information Component, UNTAC

H.E. Dr. Ricardo G. Castaneda-Cornejo, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the UN

Mr. Arne Piel Christensen, Secretary-General, Danish Refugee Council, Copenhagen

H.E. M. Kéba Birane Cisse, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN

Ms. Christine Dawson, Director of Special Policy Programs, The Aspen Institute

Mr. Alvaro de Soto, Senior Political Adviser to the UN Secretary-General

* Mr. Dusan Dragic, Director, Humanitarian Programme, UNDP

Mr. Jon Ebersole, Director, Program on Humanitarian Assistance, World Conference on Religion and Peace, NYC

H.E. Dr. Nabil A. Elaraby, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN

Ambassador Jan Eliasson, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; IPA Board

H.E. Mr. André Erdös, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN

H.E. Dr. Mulugeta Eteffa, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the UN

Professor Richard Falk, Center of International Studies, Princeton University

Mr. Jean-Paul Fallet, Head, International Organizations Division, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

Mrs. Esther B. Ferguson, Philanthropist and civic leader; IPA Board

Dr. Shepard Forman, Director, Program Division, International Affairs Program, The Ford Foundation

H.E. Mrs. Louise Frechette, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN

H.E. M. Francesco Paolo Fulci, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN

Ms. Felice D. Gaer, Director, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, New York

* H.E. Prof. Ibrahim A. Gambari, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN

Mr. Edward Girardet, Editor, Crosslines Global Report, Geneva

H.E. Detlev Graf Zu Rantzau, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN

Dr. Lori Gronich, Research Fellow, Center of International Studies, Princeton University

H.E. Sir David Hannay, KCMG, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN

H.E. Mr. Yoshio Hatano, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN; IPA Board

Rita E. Hauser, Esq., President, The Hauser Foundation; Chair, IPA Board

H.E. Mr. Martin Huslid, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN

Professor Marius B. Jansen, Department of History, Princeton University

Mr. Soren Jessen-Petersen, Director, Division of External Relations, UNHCR, Geneva

Mr. Ian Johnstone, Program Officer, IPA

Mr. Allen Jones, Director of Operations, World Food Programme, Addis Ababa

Ms. Jane Jopling, Director, World Food Program, New York

Mr. Mohammad Jusuf, Minister Counsellor (Political Affairs), Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN

H.E. Mr. Humayun Kabir, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN

Professor George Kateb, Department of Politics, Princeton University

Ms. Irene Khan, Executive Assistant to the High Commissioner, UNHCR, Geneva

Ambassador Ismat T. Kittani, Consultant to the UN Secretary-General; former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Tajikistan; IPA Board

* Dr. Bernard Kouchner, Président, Fondation pour l'Action Humanitaire, Paris

Mr. Peter Küng, Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the UN

Ms. Evelyn R. Leopold, UN Correspondent, Reuters

Mr. Paul Lewis, UN Correspondent, The New York Times

Mr. Jon Leyne, UN Correspondent, BBC

Mr. F.T. Liu, Special Adviser, IPA; former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs

Mr. Christopher J. Makins, Vice President, Policy Programs, The Aspen Institute

H.E. Mr. David M. Malone, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN

Ambassador Edward Marks, Senior Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Fort McNair; former U.S. Ambassador to the Republics of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde

Dr. Stephen P. Marks, Visiting Fellow, Center of International Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Mr. Stanley Meisler, UN Correspondent, Los Angeles Times

Mr. José-Maria Mendiluce, Regional Representative, UNHCR Regional Office for Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Institutions, Brussels; former Special Envoy of the High Commissioner in former Yugoslavia

Professor Saul Mendlovitz, Co-Director, World Order Models Project, New York and Professor, Peace and World Order Studies, Rutgers Law School, New Jersey

Mr. Larry Minear, Co-Director, Humanitarianism and War Project, Refugee Policy Group, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Fund, New York; former Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

Mr. Dent Ocaya-Lakidi, Senior Fellow for Africa, IPA; former Senior Lecturer, Political Science, Makerere University, Kampala

Ambassador Herbert S. Okun, Executive Director, Financial Services Volunteer Corps; former Special Adviser and Deputy to Cyrus Vance, International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia

H.E. Mr. Peter Osvald, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN

Mr. Albert Alain Peters, Director, UNHCR, New York

Ms. Jeannie Peterson, Civil Affairs Coordinator, UNPROFOR, Belgrade

Ann Phillips, Trustee, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs; IPA Board

Mr. Giandomenico Picco, President and CEO, Ferruzzi Corp. of America; IPA Board; former UN Assistant Secretary-General

Mr. Michael H. Posner, Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, New York

* Mr. Peter Pringle, UN Correspondent, The Independent, London

H.E. Mr. Razali Ismail, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN

Ms. Sheri A. Rickert, Adviser, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN

Mr. Iqbal Riza, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations

Mr. Lionel A. Rosenblatt, President, Refugees International, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Behrooz Sadry, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Field Operations Division; former Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cambodia

Dr. Enid C.B. Schoettle, Senior Fellow, Director, Project on International Organizations and Law, Council on Foreign Relations

Professor George L. Sherry, Visiting Scholar, IPA, and Professor, Occidental College, Los Angeles; former UN Assistant Secretary-General

Mr. Ivo Sieber, Permanent Observer Mission of Switzerland to the UN

Professor Paul E. Sigmund, Department of Politics, Princeton University

Ambassador Björn Skogmo, Coordinator for Peacekeeping Operations, Special Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Mr. M. Douglas Stafford, U.S. Department of State

H.E. Dr. Ernst Sucharipa, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN; IPA Board

Dr. Astri Suhrke, Director of Research, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen (Norway)

Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Special Assistant to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations

Mr. Cedric Thornberry, Deputy Chief of Mission, UNPROFOR, Zagreb

Professor Richard H. Ullman, Center of International Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Sir Brian Urquhart, Scholar-in-Residence, Program Division, International Affairs Program, The Ford Foundation; IPA Board; former UN Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs

Dr. Angel Viñas, Head of the Delegation, Commission of the European Communities to the UN

Dr. Peter Walker, Head, Disaster Policy Department, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva

Professor John Waterbury, Director, Center of International Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Mr. Derrick Wong, IPA Consultant

H.E. Sr. Don Juan Antonio Yañez-Barnuevo, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN

Professor Aristide R. Zolberg, University-in-Exile Chair, New School for Social Research


Lady Gillian Hannay

Leona Forman, Chief, The Information Centres Program Section, UN Department of Public Information

UNHCR Staff:

Ms. Michelene Saunders, Secretary, Geneva

Woodrow Wilson School Staff:

Mrs. Ruth L. Miller, Assistant Dean

IPA Staff:

Ms. Marisa Angell, Intern

Mrs. Janet D. Arnold, Director of Development

Ms. Anne Denvir, Program Administrator

Mr. Michael Griesdorf

Mr. David McCormick

Ms. Margaret Pierre, Assistant to the President

Ms. Beth Ruck, Administrative Manager

Ms. Ayaka Suzuki, Intern, assistant rapporteur

Ms. Nishkala Suntharalingam, Special Assistant to the President

Mr. Timothy Wilkins, IPA Fellow, assistant rapporteur

Mr. Brian Williams, assistant rapporteur

Appendix 2 : PROGRAM

Friday, October 22


Rita E. Hauser, Esq., Chair of the Board, International Peace Academy

Professor Henry S. Bienen, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Venue: Dodds Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson School


Mr. Olara A. Otunnu, President, IPA

11:45 - 12:15 pm OPENING ADDRESS

Mrs. Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch

Shultz Dining Hall, Woodrow Wilson School


Chair: Ambassador Yoshio Hatano, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN

Presentations: Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Envoy, UNHCR

Mr. Timothy Carney, former Director, Information Component, UNTAC; and currently U.S. Department of State

Venue: Dodds Auditorium

3:30- 4:00 Coffee Break

Friday, October 22


Chair: Ambassador Herbert S. Okun, Executive Director, Financial Services Volunteer Corps

Presentations: Mr. José-Maria Mendiluce, Regional Representative, UNHCR Regional Office for Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Institutions, Brussels

Mr. Cedric Thornberry, Deputy Chief of Mission, UNPROFOR

6:30- 7:30 Cocktails

Prospect, the Faculty Club

7:30-10:00 Dinner

Keynote Address:


Mr. Kofi Annan, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations

Chair and Introduction:

Ambassador Don Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN

Venue: Faculty Club

Saturday, October 23

7:30- 8:30 a.m. Breakfast

Nassau Inn

Panel Discussions

Participants were assigned to panels, accommodating as closely as possible their preferences expressed on the registration form.


9:00-11:00 a.m.

Panel 1A When should the UN intervene for the purpose of humanitarian action?

Chair: Ambassador David Malone, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN.

Panelists: Ambassador Richard Butler, Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN

Ambassador Razali Ismail, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN

Venue: Bowl 5, Woodrow Wilson School

Panel 1B The role of the UN in the prevention of humanitarian emergencies

Chair: Mr. Alvaro de Soto, Senior Political Adviser to the Secretary-General, UN

Panelists: Mr. Jan Eliasson, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs

Mr. Allen Jones, Director of Operations, World Food Programme, Ethiopia

Venue: Bowl 6

Saturday, October 23


11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Panel 2A To what extent should (can) humanitarian action and peacekeeping be kept separate from each other?

Chair: Mr. Iqbal Riza, UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations

Panelists: Ambassador Ismat T. Kittani, Consultant to the UN Secretary General

Mr. Lionel A. Rosenblatt, President, Refugees International

Venue: Bowl 5

Panel 2B: The consideration of humanitarian issues before the Security Council

Chair: Ambassador Jan Eliasson, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

Panelists: Ambassador Diego Arria, Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the UN

Ambassador David Hannay, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN.

Venue: Bowl 6

Panel 2C: Humanitarian action and human rights

Chair: Mr. Michael Posner, Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights

Panelists: Professor Richard Falk, Center of International Studies, Princeton University

Ms. Felice Gaer, Director, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Venue: Bowl 2

1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Lunch

Shultz Dining Room, Woodrow Wilson School


Chairs: Mrs. Sadako Ogata and Mr. Olara A. Otunnu

3:30 - 4:00 Coffee Break


by the Co-Chairpersons, Mrs. Sadako Ogata and Mr. Olara A. Otunnu

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