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The Politics of Non-recognition: Re-evaluating the Apolitical Presentation of the UN Humanitarian Mine Action Programs in Somaliland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Activism and Humanitarian Disarmament
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ChapterChapter 6
E-pub ahead of print1 Nov 2019

King's Authors


Humanitarian programs in post conflict contexts are not only challenged by technical constraints but also by the political context. But they are often constrained by mandates guided by supposedly apolitical principles of neutrality and impartiality. This chapter uses the case study of a UN-led mine action program in Somaliland, a politically non-recognized state. It demonstrates that in pursuing an apolitical approach to landmine clearance, the UN may have undermined its own liberal peacebuilding agenda that sought to empower national institutions and build both capacity and ownership. The author argues against a standardized, “one size fits all,” approach to mine action. The challenges encountered in Somaliland highlight the need for mine action to be sensitive to the political dynamics beyond the removal of mines from the ground.

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