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The ethos-practice gap: perceptions of humanitarianism in Iraq

31-03-2008 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 869, by Greg Hansen

This article summarizes a country study on Iraq, which focussed on what Iraqis and aid workers believe to be true about the way the humanitarian apparatus has functioned or malfunctioned in Iraq, and why. Its findings confirm both the strength of the humanitarian ethos in Iraq and the operational value of principled humanitarianism, but call attention to significant gaps at ground level between ethos and practice.

   

Greg Hansen is an aid worker and independent researcher based in Amman, Jordan.   He has been tracking humanitarian practice and policy in Iraq since early 2004. 
 
Abstract 
This article summarizes a country study on Iraq conducted by the Humanitarian Agenda: 2015 project of the Feinstein International Center, Tufts University, between October 2006 and May 2007. Based on a sample survey of perceptions of humanitarian action among Iraqis at the community level and among humanitarian agencies in the region, the study focuses on what Iraqis and aid workers believe to be true about the way in which the humanitarian apparatus has functioned or malfunctioned in Iraq, and why. Its findings confirm both the strength of the humanitarian ethos in Iraq and the operational value of principled humanitarianism, but call attention to significant gaps at ground level between ethos and practice.

   
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