We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip main navigation

Humanitarian principles

Humanitarian principles
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
Humanitarian principles are a set of statements that provide a foundation for a system of practice and way of working.
Humanitarian practice is shaped by principles that have their origins in those established in 1965 by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Humanitarian principles were formally established by the UN General Assembly in 1991 (UNHCR n.d.). These are presented below:
  • Humanity refers to the provision of aid to all who are in need, wherever the need exists, with the purpose to protect and respect all human beings
  • Neutrality is the responsibility of aid organisations not to choose sides in a conflict or to favour a particular political, religious or ideological bent
  • Impartiality demands that aid be given based on need alone, not on any other distinctions including gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, class, political party or religious belief
  • Independence refers to the requirement that aid organisations are autonomous from any political or military objectives or with those goals in mind
There are an additional six, specified by the IFRC in their code of conduct, and which have been adopted widely across the NGO sector.

Your task

How should agencies and organisations involved in response demonstrate that their practice is aligned to the humanitarian principles? Do the principles apply to all actors in emergency situations?
Discuss your ideas in the comments.

References

UNHCR (n.d) UNHCR Emergency Handbook [online] available from https://emergency.unhcr.org/entry/250617/humanitarian-principles [10 May 2019].
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
This article is from the free online

Humanitarian Action, Response and Relief

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education