Whatever their rhetoric, national security policymakers have often viewed humanitarian response as marginal to the international community’s involvement in issues of war and peace. However, the reality is that humanitarian situations have long affected political and security issues. In Pakistan, for example, after conflict in the Swat Valley fueled large-scale civilian flight, adequate assistance and support for voluntary return quickly became a political imperative for Islamabad, the United States and the international donor community. But how should humanitarians operate effectively in such policy environments? And how do they ensure basic principles, such as effectiveness and impartiality of aid, protection of civilians, access to populations in need and the security of humanitarian workers?
On November 4, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement hosted Eric Schwartz, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, to discuss the challenges of implementing humanitarian programs and affecting policy in government. After the program, Assistant Secretary Schwartz took audience questions.