Displaying items by tag: Principles

The editors and contributors of this volume are to be congratulated on a practical text that pushes forwards our knowledge and understanding of the virtual space that now surrounds humanitarian operations, and which can have such a physical impact upon them. I encourage you to read it. The articles that follow have certainly brought me up to speed. Hugo Slim – Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC), University of Oxford. [Extract from the foreword ofCommunications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery: Challenges and Opportunities for Security Risk Management.] The articles contained in this publication are dispatches…
Most humanitarian donors recognise the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality as a foundation for action in situations of conflict and complex emergency. They are enshrined in the ‘European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid’ adopted by European Union (EU) donors in December 2007 and are a key component of the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, first signed by donors in 2003. In practice, however, donors are confronted with numerous challenges to the application of humanitarian principles. There is growing political pressure to portray humanitarian action as part of the crisis management toolbox, or to link it to counter-insurgency,…
Letter to Henry Dunant, father of the Red Cross, born 8 May 1828, died 30 Oct 1910 Dear Henry, We commemorate your birthday today – 8 May - as World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. If you were alive now, you would be 186 years old. But you are not really gone. We remember you, everywhere and everyday. Everywhere - in the physical symbols and structures of your beloved creation, the Red Cross Red Crescent, scattered across neighbourhoods worldwide. Everyday – whenever someone extends a hand of friendship and compassion to a stranger in distress. But who were you? You…
For months we’ve had a terribly worthy and earnest consensus about resilience. Differences of opinion, but all prefaced by saying ‘we all’ really agree about what we should be doing, we just have different frameworks for defining it. The ‘we all’ grew – resilience brought together humanitarians and development agencies, then climate change experts, then social protection advocates, and so on… But now we finally have a disagreement about principle, made much more fun because each side has used ‘principled’ as an insult, as if lacking them were a badge of honour in a pragmatic world.   Three MSF authors…
On 2 November, yet more violence broke out in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Two incidents between Muslim Rohingya and Kaman communities and Rakhine Buddhist communities resulted in two deaths and five people wounded, two with such severe injuries that they later died in hospital. There is long-standing tension between ethnic Rakhine people, who make up the majority of the state's population, and Muslims, many of whom are Rohingya and regarded by the authorities as illegal immigrants. After receiving a phonecall from the leaders of the camp for displaced people where the first incident took place, our medical teams transferred three injured…
The devastating armed conflict in Syria has once again raised the question of the ethics and legality of crossborder humanitarian operations. Many humanitarian agencies that have been excluded from working in Syria by the Syrian government have rightly explored other ways to protect and assist civilians in opposition-held parts of the country that are not easily or routinely reached by cross-line humanitarian operations authorised by the government. This article looks briefly at three main types of cross-border operations in humanitarian history, and then addresses two main questions: can cross-border operations be pursued legally?; and what constitutes ethical crossborder operations? Precedents…
A political or military solution to stop the carnage in Syria seems as remote as ever. The war seems only to bring even worse depths of human suffering and diplomatic impotence. Syrian civilians are in a state, not just of terror, but of horror – hostages in a geopolitical, ideological and sectarian catastrophe. On the face of it, getting humanitarian assistance to the millions affected should be easier to deal with than the political and military mess. In the space of two years, a major relief operation within Syria has indeed come to life despite the extreme circumstances. But these…
Young people subject to immigration control in Europe face a range of possible outcomes as they make the transition to ‘adulthood’ at the age of 18. The majority of those institutionalised as unaccompanied minors are denied refugee status or humanitarian protection but are afforded time-limited welfare support and care under provisions of discretionary leave - temporarily tolerated on the cusp of, but not admitted as members of, the national community. Others seek to avoid entering into any relationship with the state and live undocumented.  Irrespective of their points of entry, for most young people, turning 18 marks a significant repositioning…
Ten years of conflict in Darfur between the Sudanese government and an array of rebel groups and militias have caused a humanitarian emergency. In the early stages of the conflict, between 2004 and 2009, some two dozen agencies provided ‘cross-line’ humanitarian assistance in territory controlled by rebel movements. Although urgent humanitarian needs persist in these areas, by 2011 all cross-line aid had stopped. This article explores the issues around humanitarian access to rebel and contested areas in Darfur, and analyses the reasons why such assistance has come to an end, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need. The…
Humanitarian access negotiations with Hamas in the Gaza Strip highlight the many challenges humanitarians encounter when engaging with non-state actors. After winning the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliamentary elections in 2006, Hamas began transitioning from an Islamic charitable/militant organisation to a party responsible for state institutions and the provision of public services. Yet Hamas remains in many ways a nonstate actor; those running its ministries are guided by its senior leadership in Qatar and Egypt, have little control over its paramilitary branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and are suspicious of Western aid organisations’ potential ‘collaboration’ with Israeli and other intelligence…
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