In their newly published article The Reframing of the War on Drugs as a “Humanitarian Crisis” – Costs, Benefits, and Consequences in Latin American Perspectives, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (Research Professor in Humanitarian Studies at PRIO and Associate Professor at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law at the University of Oslo) and Kristian Hoelscher (Senior Researcher at PRIO) discuss the use of the label “humanitarian crisis” in the context of the War on Drugs.
The War on Drugs has had grave humanitarian consequences for Latin America. It has encouraged a highly militarized and ultimately unsuccessful approach to drug control, leading to violence, displacement, and human suffering throughout the region. In acknowledging and responding to this suffering, humanitarian organizations have recently begun to frame this situation as a “humanitarian crisis” to facilitate humanitarian entry into new spaces. There is a need for a conceptual conversation about the use of the label “humanitarian crisis” in reference to the human costs of the War on Drugs in Latin America, particularly its rhetorical and normative use by the media and civil society and its strategic and moral use by humanitarian actors.
Note: This article is an output of the research project Brazil’s Rise to the Global Stage (BraGS), placed under the umbrella of NCHS and funded by the Research Council of Norway from 2014 to 2017. You can access the article here.