The politicisation of humanitarian aid and its effects on (in)security. A case study of the experiences by international aid workers of MSF, in providing emergency relief within the Syrian conflict

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Most scholars view the increasing politicisation of the humanitarian sector as a risk factor for the security of aid workers. As an increase in insecurity can have adverse effects for both aid workers and the civilians that are depending on their help, the exploration of the possible consequences of the politicisation of aid holds societal value. By exploring the operations of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) within the Syrian conflict as a case study, this research project aims to contribute to this mostly quantitative debate, from a more qualitative perspective. The results of this case study show that some of the activities of MSF and its interaction with other actors have resulted in being perceived politically, next to the dominant image of being perceived as a medical actor. However, this politicised image barely had any consequences for how these aid workers experienced their security in the field, in contrast to what I had hypothesised. Due to the state of mind of aid workers and their trust in the security management system, the effects of the politicisation of aid did not result in any substantial feelings of insecurity.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen