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Politics and Humanitarian Action in the Georgia ConflictsHumanitarian Agenda 2015

Drawing upon extensive field research in the region and informed by additional field study dating back to the mid-1990s, the study calls renewed attention to the politicization and instrumentalization of humanitarian action and to serious shortcomings in donor behavior measured against their own undertakings to Good Humanitarian Donorship. As the report points out, the humanitarian response to the 2008 conflict was demonstrably more political than humanitarian. Military actors, rather than civilian humanitarian agencies, were mobilized to respond despite ample civilian capacity on the ground and in reserve, lending credence to the notion that western forces, and US forces in particular, were deployed as a “humanitarian tripwire” to deter a larger-scale Russian incursion. More importantly, the paper argues forcefully that the recent crisis was the latest in a series of failures by governments and international political institutions to address chronic insecurity for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and other war-affected persons in the post-Soviet Caucasus.