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Aid and the Islamic State

Author: Svoboda, E. & Redvers, L.
Publication date: 2014

The IRIN/HPG Crisis Brief is a new product designed for aid workers, policy makers and donors to address a gap in current analysis of humanitarian research and action.

This pilot examines the flows of international aid into parts of Iraq controlled by militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Key messages:

  • Despite mounting humanitarian needs in Iraq, access for international aid agencies is extremely limited.
  • Some humanitarian assistance is getting through to areas held by the group calling itself Islamic State (IS), suggesting that the group is not completely indifferent to the suffering of civilians under its control.
  • Engagement with IS is critical to efforts to reach populations in need, though it will only be possible if conditions improve and there is greater clarity around the legal and reputational risks.
  • Aid agencies should continue open dialogue with donors on counter-terrorism measures and their implications for humanitarian work.