The CSS and MECACS are hosting this joint presentation from Dr Carsten Wieland, scholar, German diplomat, former senior UN consultant, and Middle East and conflict expert with high-ranking mediation experience, and Dr Michelle Burgis-Kasthala of the University of Edinburgh,
Dr Wieland will present his book Syria and the Neutrality Trap: The Dilemmas of Delivering Humanitarian Aid through Violent Regimes.
The Syrian war has been an example of the abuse and insufficient delivery of humanitarian assistance. According to international practice, humanitarian aid should be channelled through a state government that bears a particular responsibility for its population. Yet in Syria, the bulk of relief went through Damascus while the regime caused the vast majority of civilian deaths. Should the UN have severed its cooperation with the government and neglected its humanitarian duty to help all people in need? Decision makers face these tough policy dilemmas, and often the “neutrality trap” snaps shut.
Dr Burgis-Kasthala will present on ‘Assembling Atrocity Archives for Syria: Assessing the Work of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability and the UN Syria Mechanism'.
What types of material are being archived in the midst of Syria's conflict? Who is gathering this material and for what ends? How might this material inform future criminal trials or broader transitional justice mechanisms? This talk draws on ethnographic research into two key archival actors in Syria's war to reflect on avenues for redress and responsibility through such activities.
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