According and acceptance to the humanitarian actors. When interviewed

According
to International Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC, 1996), there are seven
(Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity and
Universality) fundamental principal to which first four (Humanity,
Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence) are the core to humanitarian principles
of action. Humanitarian principles outlines what and how humanitarian
assistance should be delivered to those in need without any discrimination and
or distinction and how all stake holders involved into it should facilitate the
access and acceptance to the humanitarian actors.

When
interviewed on 5th January 2018, V Singh, worked as Assistant Director of
Programme, Handicap International, South Sudan Programme, confirmed that as
humanitarian worker humanitarian principles and its values are guiding
principle in their intervention as long as their key stake holders are aware of
these principles. Otherwise being humanitarian actor our role is also to raise
awareness on humanitarian principles and differentiate them from the
conflicting parties and make them understands its importance and is the crucial
tools for getting into conflict zone to access the people in need.

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However,
for Weiss (1999, p.4) humanitarian principles are not ‘hard and fast’ and ‘it is
tempered with ground reality’. He further pointed out that in humanitarian
history these principle has done more harm than good to humanitarian action, In
many humanitarian actions sometimes it is impossible to respect the principle
of neutrality and impartiality to acceptance in the community one need to take
side with beneficiary and help them with available resources. Moreover, Slim
(2015) highlighted that Irrespective of humanitarian law and
principles, timely provision of humanitarian assistance remains operationally
challenging. Humanitarian action can be manipulated and neglected by
administrative authorities within the humanitarian system, this was the
‘consequence of creation of MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/doctors without
borders) by group of ICRC field staff, who could not accept the ICRC
humanitarian principles (Weiss, 1999, p.4), which is more problematic than ever
before’. Humanitarian principles can further face complex problems of access,
equality and collective action. Humanitarian assistance can be aggressively
resisted and disputed by parties in an armed conflict and can be further abused
by individuals overseeing and getting it.

The
issue witness by Weiss (1999) and Slim (2015) talks a lot about humanitarian
principle in Humanitarian action, whether we agree or not when it comes to the
ground reality of humanitarian action with humanitarian principles become two
different unreachable poles.  In
addition, to Leader (2000, p.1), they are ‘increasingly looked to as a rudder
with which to steer a course through the murky water of relief provision in
complex emergencies’. Whereby,  different
humanitarian organisation are obliged to follow donors political agenda, and
theoretical aspect of  humanitarian
principle can only be used as essential tool either to access the people in
need and or to justify humanitarian action. If we refer to few core
humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence or even first and
foremost ‘Humanity’, experiences shows that rarely humanitarian actor are on
ground during the real need of people, most recent example could be the Syrian
crisis, first few month of the crisis, there were no humanitarian actors or
very few of them operating from neighboring countries.   To practice our ‘Humanitarianism’ principles,
we were supposed to help them during their dire need, when it was needed most. However,
we could not do it for obvious reasons of insecurity, funding constraints and
many more. And also we have to accept the bitter truth that due to ‘Instrumentalisation
of humanitarian politics’, the purpose of humanitarian action is less emphasized
on helping the distressed people, rather its primary purpose has become getting
state resource /funding, which automatically results in becoming state
machinery of ‘Global governance’ and remaining consideration is given to practicing
humanitarian principals and standards than helping people in need.

During
the interview with Mr.Singh, when we were discussing the challenges faced by
him in realizing ‘Neutrality’ and ‘operational independence’ principle in
humanitarian action. He declined of any challenges faced by him in practicing ‘Neutrality
principles. As he has been working in international non-governmental setup for
several year, with culturally diverse team and humanitarian principles being
part of their organizations code of conduct, they are always neutral to both
conflicting parties and they do not affiliate to any political movement as
well, because their aim and objective is to help needy people. And on ‘Operational
independence’ principle in humanitarian action, he acknowledge the use of armed
escort on certain occasion due to insecurity,  provided by one party of the
conflict, he felt that in short run they got secured access to the needy
people, while in long run it shows wrong message and insecurity to them and
other humanitarian actor. He insisted on the need to reinforce the
implementation of the humanitarian principles collectively by all stake holders
involved internally and externally, means not only within organization but also
externally by local authorities and community member. When it comes to the
application by other humanitarian actors, Mr.singh has witnessed on several
occasion humanitarian actors practicing humanitarian principles, whereby they
deliver assistance to the people in very remote and security challenge  areas without the fear of losing their  lives and he wishes this sprit should keep on
going.

We
need to analyse ‘neutrality’ princicple from two angle, firstly the donor organization
and its strategic interest and secondly the different pary involved in the
conflict and or have the local and regional political influence. As witness by
Slim (2015) and Weiss (1999), on several occasion donor community or states
strategic priority does not go hand in hand with humanitarian organization
priority or crisis on ground in different region. In addition, if at all
funding is secured for different response then the delivery mechanism, how it
has been negotiated on ground with conflicting parties, how it has been assured
that the resources intended for the people need most will not be diverted. I
agree with Mr. Singh’s on example of use of armed escort can give relive in
short term while in long run it becomes insecurity to the same humaniatarian
actor or even to all humanitarian community. Therefore, humanitarian agencies
are forced or to compromise on neutrality aspect to collaborate with one or
both parties of conflict to make the assistance available to the people in
need.

Mr.Singh
Shred his approach of paracting humanitarian principle, which is commonly used
by many humanitarian organization. That is mixing national and international
team with different culture back ground in realizing humanitarian response and the
awareness raising of the stake holders of our essential tool of humanitarian
principle in humanitarian response. Moreover, donor support can play crucial
role in the application of humanitarian principles in humanitarian assistance,
whereby they should prioritize the crisis as per the need not politically
important crisis as well as timely and periodic funding to humanitarian action.

Weiss
(1999) has also suggested ‘intervention trio (the military, the political and
diplomat element) in improved collaboration and integration’, while Leader
(2000) has share the example of South Sudan, whereby. several organization’s
approach of ‘do no harm’ to analyze the relief effort  impact on local economy  and also pointed out the use of recruiting
local staff with ‘technical and personal skills’. We should also think of. To
make humanitarian assistance to reach all civilian population of all parties,
there is need of ‘intervention trio’, which is also included in the operational
guideline of humanitarian principle, whereby donors avails the resources
unconditionally and on time to help the people in need. And at ground level
local level the local authority if applicable in conflict context military and warring
parties also should give un-conditional access to civilian, to make
humanitarian choices and act accordingly. So that assistance can be delivered
to them when they are in dire need, humanitarian autonomy should not be compromised.
Collaborating with local organization and or humanitarian player could also be
one solution to access the civil population in terrible need.   There
should be good balance between humanitarian principle and its application in
humanitarian action as it involves several parties from donor to the recipient
as well as ground reality, which requires proper cooperation and negotiation.