Please see below for more info (prepared by Jim Davis - KAIROS).
The international humanitarian assistance community has launched a number of initiatives to define and implement good humanitarian practices including The Code of Conduct: Principles of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programmes (1995) and the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response--the Sphere Project. More recently representatives of governments, including Canada, multilateral donors, United Nations institutions, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other organizations involved in humanitarian action participated in the International Meeting on Good Humanitarian Donorship in Stockholm in June 2003 and review past achievements as well as current challenges in global humanitarian action including complexity of crises, safe humanitarian access, increased media attention and public awareness, increase number of humanitarian actors and needs for better coordination mechanisms. Canada subsequently took on the leadership of this on-going consultation process and hosted the Second International Meeting on Good Humanitarian Donorship in Ottawa in October 2004.
The conclusions of the seminal Stockholm meeting resulted in 23 Principles and Good Practices of Humanitarian Donorship) endorsed by donors for enhanced effectiveness, efficiency and accountable. In view of the late December South and Southeast Asia earthquake and resulting tsunami, KAIROS would like to underscore the values of learning and accountability and the general need for:
- intentional, optimal engagement of beneficiaries in all phases of humanitarian response;
- strengthening the capacity of local communities to prevent, mitigate and respond to future humanitarian crises; and,
- provision of humanitarian assistance in ways that support the maintenance and return of sustainable livelihoods.
- Respect and promote the implementation of international humanitarian law, refugee law and human rights (#4). This is particularly where there are affected population relatively disenfranchised by central governments (e.g., Acehnese, Tamils, Muslims in southern Thailand)
- Strive to ensure that funding of humanitarian action in new crises does not adversely affect the meeting of needs in ongoing crises (#11). While the outpouring of Canadian public support for tsunami survivors is laudable, appropriate and welcome, there are other massive on-going humanitarian disasters elsewhere in the world displaced from public consciousness receiving varying degrees of media attention and disproportionately less humanitarian redress (e.g., Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Northern Uganda, Southern Sudan and even the relatively more publicized Darfur region of Sudan).
- Maintain readiness to offer support to the implementation of humanitarian action, including the facilitation of safe humanitarian access (#17). In some areas there may be disaffinity by affected populations with humanitarian service delivery providers (e.g., Acehnese reticence to receive assistance from Indonesian government and military units).
- Affirm the primary position of civilian organizations in implementing humanitarian action, particularly in areas affected by armed conflict. In situations where military capacity and assets are used to support the implementation of humanitarian action, ensure that such use is in conformity with international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles, and recognises the leading role of humanitarian organisations (#19). The use of US and Indonesian military units to deliver humanitarian assistance directly to affected populations can compromise the allocation of humanitarian assistance in local communities in proportion to needs on the basis of needs assessments best carried out by specialized aid agencies and civil society groups. Moreover, in zones of civil unrest, use of military to deliver humanitarian assistance to final beneficiaries may jeopardize the safety of humanitarian workers sometimes seen as associated with the military.