Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This paper analyses the contradictory motivations, actions and implications of a network of American Evangelical organizations which is actively involved in humanitarian and political projects directly affecting two groups of protracted refugees in the Middle East and North Africa: Sahrawis and Palestinians. Following a brief introduction to typologies and key characteristics of ‘faith-based’ and ‘Evangelical’ humanitarian organisations, this paper examines how, why and to what effect American Evangelical groups provide relief aid to Sahrawi refugees in their Algerian-based refugee camps, and vocally advocate in favour of the Sahrawi quest for self-determination over the Western Sahara before the US Congress and the United Nations. While this first mode of Evangelical humanitarian and political intervention explicitly invokes a human rights discourse and international legal frameworks, the second case-study underscores the ways in which these same actors effectively render Palestinian refugees invisible, implicitly negating international law and UN resolutions enshrining their right to return and the right to meaningful Palestinian self-determination. Ultimately, the paper addresses the implications of these contradictory Evangelical interventions through reference to international humanitarian principles, interrogating the proposed ‘humanitarian,’ ‘political’ and ‘religious’ dynamics in such initiatives.

More information




Max Planck Institute

Publication Date




Total pages