Establishing humanitarian neutrality of nongovernmental organizations engaged on hazardous duties


The fundamental objective is that of humanitarian neutrality - an independent status for humanitarian work beyond political or military considerations.


Humanitarian aid must be given according to considerations of human need alone. Its granting, or its acceptance must not be made dependent on political factors or upon race, religion, ethnicity or nationality. It must not seek to advance any political agenda. Where humanitarian assistance is inadequate to meet the needs of all, priority must be given to the most vulnerable.

The passage of humanitarian assistance to populations in need should not be denied even if this requires that aid passes through an area controlled by one party in order to reach the needy in another area, provided that such passage is not used for military advantage.

All UN/NGO workers are expected to act in accordance with the humanitarian principles internationally defined: provision of aid according to need; neutrality, impartiality, accountability and transparency. This includes non-involvement in political/military activity. NGOs and UN agencies must not act or divulge information in a manner that will jeopardise the security of the area.

Impartiality is one of the central principles of professional relief organizations. A relief organization must be perceived as impartial to be able to perform its duties and survive in a conflict zone, and the importance of impartiality cannot be underestimated. For this reason, relief organizations are very hesitant to cooperate or co-locate with UN forces, especially if the use of force has been authorized. No organization wants to be seen or viewed as working with any organization perceived as partial toward one or more of the belligerents, as this can seriously jeopardize the welfare of the mission and relief workers, and significantly limit freedom of movement.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies