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Negotiating humanitarian space with criminal armed groups in urban Latin America

Lucchi, Elena and Schuberth, Moritz (2023) Negotiating humanitarian space with criminal armed groups in urban Latin America. Disasters, 47 (3). 700 - 724. ISSN 0361-3666

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Identification Number: 10.1111/disa.12569


Humanitarian and development agencies intervening in Latin American cities increasingly face the challenge posed by criminal armed groups (CAGs). Yet, there is a need for evidence-based comparative studies on how international agencies deal with them. Drawing on data collected in Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Mexico, this paper presents a novel typology of humanitarian organisations' access strategies that distinguishes between different levels of interaction with CAGs. The paper shows how humanitarian agencies assess a variety of risks and balance the potential consequences of their engagement with CAGs with the need to maintain constructive and trustful relationships with the state and the community with which they work. It finds that indirect dialogue or negotiation with CAGs via community leaders who act as intermediaries might provide a low-risk alternative to direct negotiation with CAG leaders, provided that ‘do no harm’ and humanitarian protection considerations vis-à-vis communities and intermediaries play a central role.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s)
Divisions: ?? FLIA ??
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 23:23
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 21:30

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