Humanitarian Accountability in Displacement Situations
Humanitarian actors play an increasingly important role in assisting populations affected by conflict, displacement and disasters. However, doubts around performance and effectiveness as well as scandals related to misuse of funds and sexual abuse have stimulated debates over the years about how to establish more effective and wider reaching accountability practices and systems. This drive to enhance the accountability of humanitarian actors further stems from the increasing recognition that affected populations’ inclusion and participation in decision-making is key for the delivery of effective, efficient and relevant humanitarian assistance.
This project explores legal and other frameworks of accountability for humanitarian actors, and seeks to develop an improved understanding of accountability and its place and implications in humanitarian work. Focusing on humanitarian responses in displacement situations, the project also aims to generate improved insights into the ways in which accountability concepts and mechanisms function in practice through empirical field research with prominent international humanitarian organisations and local partners.
Key publications and other outputs
- RLI Short Course, ‘Humanitarian Accountability and Protection in Displacement Contexts’, Humanitarian Leadership Academy
- D. Martin, S. Singer and B. Mathias, ‘Humanitarian Accountability in Displacement Contexts: Five years on from the Grand Bargain’ (2021) 40(4) Refugee Survey Quarterly 349
- D. Martin, S. Singer and B. Mathias, Special Issue on ‘Humanitarian Accountability in Displacement Contexts’(2021) 40(4) Refugee Survey Quarterly
- RLI, Sensitization materials for refugees in Uganda. Series of audio podcasts on how refugees can engage with IRC, UNHCR and partner organisations, the importance of their feedback, their rights, and how communities can respond to cases of fraud, corruption or sexual exploitation and abuse. Podcasts produced in 5 local lanugages and in English. Piloted by IRC in West Nile region of Uganda (2022). https://rli.sas.ac.uk/projects/humanitarian-accountability-displacement-situations/accountability-affected-populations-and
- RLI, ‘Guidance on Accountability to Affected Populations during COVID-19 and other Emergency Contexts’ (2021)
- D. Martin, 'Accountability in Displacement Contexts: A case study on client-responsiveness in collaboration with IRC Tanzania' (2021)
- B. Mathias and S. Singer, “Remote Evaluation of Feedback & Decision-Making during Save the Children’s Covid-19 Response in Bangladesh” (2021)
- B. Mathias, "Locating the value of the participatory approach to ‘humanitarian accountability’ in displacement contexts" (2021) RLI WPS No 53
- D. Martin, 'Accountability to Affected Populations in Displacement Contexts and During the Covid-19 Pandemic' (2021)
- J. Daun, 'Humanitarian accountability: a conceptual analysis' (2020) RLI WPS No 41
- K. Hampton, R. McNally, MJ. Nabugere and N. Rahmin, 'How global is the Refugee Survey Quarterly? A reflection on author affiliation and knowledge production in the forced migration academic discourse' (2020) RLI blog on Refugee Law and Forced Migration
- J. Guerrero, 'The Colombian Constitutional Court and the Protection of the Right to Health for Venezuelan Migrants' (2019) RLI Blog
- RLI, 'Child Participation and Accountability in Save the Children Colombia’s Programming' (2019)
- RLI, 'Participación Infantil y Rendición de Cuentas en Save the Children Colombia' (in Spanish) (2019)
- RLI, 'Resumen de los Hallazgos' (Executive Summary, in Spanish) (2019)
- RLI, 'Child Friendly Space Participation Activity Sheets and Discussion prompts' - activity sheets for children served by Save the Children Colombia, focused on participation principles: inclusivity, accountability and relevance; and accompanying activity guidance for tutors at Child Friendly Spaces in Colombia.
- DJ. Cantor, 'Fairness, Failure, and Future in the Refugee Regime' (2019) 30(4) International Journal of Refugee Law 627
- J. Daun, 'Humanitarian accountability for displaced persons: Where are we at?' (2018) RLI Blog
Key institutional activities
- RLI/RECAP Seminar, ‘Accountability to refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring the Humanitarian Response in Uganda and Bangladesh’ (2021)
- Practitioner teaching: Developed training materials and delivered training on research methods to 30+ Save the Children staff in Bangladesh, Laos, the Philippines and the UK (2021)
- 2020 Seminar Series: ‘Humanitarian Accountability in Displacement Contexts’, featuring Marc DuBois, (Senior Fellow at SOAS), Prof Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, (University of Oslo) and Alice Obrecht, (Senior Research Fellow at ALNAP), University of London, January-March 2020
- RLI, 10th International Refugee Law Seminar Series (hosted jointly with UNHCR) (2020-21)
- RLI/RECAP Panel, ‘Humanitarian responses to refugee crises’ (2019) RLI 4th Annual Conference, ‘Rethinking the ‘Regional’ in Refugee Law and Policy’
- 2019 Seminar Series: ‘Humanitarian Accountability in Displacement Contexts’, featuring Nick Van Pragg (Executive Director and Founder, Ground Truth Solutions), Professor Dorothea Hilhorst (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Dr Naohiko Omata (University of Oxford), University of London, March-June 2019
- RLI/Save the Children UK/Save the Children Colombia, 3-day Workshop ‘Child Participation and Accountability‘ (Bogata, Colombia, 2019)
- RLI practitioner training to Colombia Child Protection Working Group (Venezuela response), 'Child/youth participation in humanitarian and development programming' (Bogata, 2019). Included representatives from UNCHR, War Child, IOM, UNICEF, SC and National Institute for Family Well-Being (ICBF)
- RLI practitioner training to Save the Children Colombia, 'Child/youth participation in Child Friendly Spaces'. Series of training sessions delivered at Bogata HQ Office and field offices in La Guajira and Tumaco (Colombia, 2019).
This work between 2017-2021 was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) as part of the RECAP Project: ‘Research capacity strengthening and knowledge generation to support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics’, grant number ES/P010873/1.