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Today is the launch of the Core Humanitarian Standard in Copenhagen. Not exactly frontpage news, but quite a moment in the history of humanitarian assistance. 20 years ago the increased politicisation of aid and the proliferation of humanitarian agencies triggered the formulation of the Code of Conduct for Disaster Relief. It contained 10 principles, starting with (amended versions of) the classical principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. 6 principles were added regarding the quality of implementation. The Code was quickly signed up by hundreds of humanitarian agencies. When the Code had been in place for 10 years, I did…
Allegations that International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) are not accountable to the populations they assist have followed several humanitarian operations, and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake was no exception. In response, initiatives such as the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership guided agencies’ efforts to become more accountable. Results of mechanisms implemented by two INGOs showed that although conditions were created for people to raise concerns, the ability of Haitians to obtain a response from the agencies was limited. The research found that while in principle agencies have the best interests of affected populations as their aim, fragmentation and power asymmetries within the humanitarian sector…
Over the past two decades, states and inter-governmental bodies have adopted increasingly robust counter-terrorism laws and policies. At the same time, humanitarian crises in countries like Somalia, Mali, and Syria have reaffirmed the continued importance of principled humanitarian action. Counter-terrorism laws and humanitarian action share several goals, including the prevention of attacks against civilians and of diversion of aid to armed actors. Yet tensions between these two areas of law and policy have emerged in recent years, resulting in challenges for governments and humanitarian actors. These include obstacles to open and frank discussions about the practical and legal consequences of counterterrorism laws for humanitarian action, especially in territories where listed armed…
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…
ICRC’s Customary IHL database includes an update of State practice of 11 countries relating to armed conflicts and humanitarian issues such as the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack, the recruitment and use of child soldiers in hostilities, sexual violence, the treatment and material conditions of detention of persons deprived of liberty in relation to armed conflict, violence aimed at spreading terror among the civilian population, access for humanitarian relief to civilians in need, the protection of medical personnel and transport and of hospitals and hospital zones, the improper use of internationally recognized emblems, the integration of IHL…
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,…
H.E.L.P. 2014 is a two-week course in public health and nursing in humanitarian emergencies. The course focuses on meeting the needs of refugees, displaced persons and disaster victims worldwide. The course consists of online sessions in December 2013, and class work in Baltimore January 6-17, 2014.             Course content includes: Planning, assessment, and evaluation of refugee needs Measuring nutritional needs and organizing food Meeting needs for water, sanitation, shelter and fuel Establishing curative and preventive care Controlling the spread of communicable diseases Collection, analysis, and use of data in emergencies Implementation of relief activities in emergencies Provision of reproductive health…
3-6 September, 2013 (Belgium) Advanced level About the course This is the 7th year we run this course based on the newest guidelines established by the OECD-DAC and providing methodologies for carrying out assessments of conflict sensitivity, conflict situations and, subsequently, evaluating the performance of peace-building and conflict prevention activities in a seminar format with focus on methods and challenges.
Most international NGOs (INGOs) delivering humanitarian assistance in disrupted societies have yet to design and implement concrete programmes that encourage substantive partnerships with local organisations, despite a broad and sincere effort to make such cooperation a centrepiece of relief and development. Enduring collaboration and capacity building depend on INGOs taking initiative and spending money on partnerships in politically charged environments, advocacy with donors and host governments, and serious institutional investment in local organisations. A Princeton University graduate research team visited five countries (Bosnia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestine, and Sudan) and interviewed more than 100 local and INGOs in November 1999 to assess the cooperative ventures between the two in politically disrupted environments. The study focused on four…
Over the past two years, there has been persistent and increasing opposition to the Sphere and Ombudsman projects, and by extension to field-based or general codes of conduct, including the People-in-Aid code. This opposition has come primarily from French NGOs associated with the Groupe Urgence- Réhabilitation-Développement (Groupe URD). The initial objection to Sphere – that ‘to every complex problem there is a simple solution, and it is a bad one’ – has led to an advice to the French government not to co-fund the Ombudsman project; and has resulted in the creation of a ‘Platform for Quality’ and consideration of…
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