LWF Endorses Statement on Humanitarian Principles

Workshop in disaster risk reduction and emergency response for a community in Myanmar. The statement reaffirms the humanitarian principles of neutrality, humanity, impartiality and independence especially in insecure and volatile contexts. Photo: LWF Myanmar
Workshop in disaster risk reduction and emergency response for a community in Myanmar. The statement reaffirms the humanitarian principles of neutrality, humanity, impartiality and independence especially in insecure and volatile contexts. Photo: LWF Myanmar

Neutrality and Independence in Work for People in Need

(LWI) – Together with 47 other humanitarian NGO, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has endorsed a joint statement on humanitarian principles. The statement is a common contribution to the World Humanitarian Summit consultations on 27 February 2015. It was initiated by the French organizations Handicap International and Action Contre la Faim.

The statement reaffirms the humanitarian principles of neutrality, humanity, impartiality and independence in a time when “the humanitarian sector faces an unprecedented number of protracted and acute humanitarian crises,” as the statement reads.

Challenges to humanitarian organizations include “operating in exceptionally volatile and insecure environments where political agendas are interfering with the delivery of humanitarian aid”, such as “threats to aid workers and assets on humanitarian organizations.” The examples mentioned include counter-terrorism laws and measures which are restrictive for forming partnerships and implementing projects in complex environments. The involvement of donor states in stabilizing operations is putting aid workers at risk by “increasingly blurring the lines between political, military and humanitarian objectives,” the statement further remarks.

The statement signed among others by ACT Alliance and LWF partners such as Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, DanChurch Aid, FinnChurchAid, Norwegian Church Aid and Islamic Relief Worldwide calls especially for funding that is independent of governmental and institutional agendas and based on the needs as assessed by humanitarian actors.  

“Relief operations should not be considered as a challenge to State sovereignty nor the humanitarian imperative be undermined by making national sovereignty an excuse,” the statement concludes.

The LWF currently provides assistance in 24 countries with emergency response and development programs. Among them are the crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Iraq and Syria which have been classified as most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises (Level 3-emergencies) by the UN.

Read the statement