Establishing a human rights framework for nongovernmental organization operations in complex emergencies


In a humanitarian principles framework, both the basic human rights standards and principles about how aid should be delivered are extremely important. In humanitarian action they go hand in hand. The reason why it is so important to include human rights standards in this type of agreement, is that there may be no other legal framework applicable on which basis everyday work can be carried out. If a rebel movement is in charge of that particular area where the agreement applies, together with basic humanitarian legal standards and customary international law, it may be the only tool at hand.


At the organizational level it is important to recognize that complex emergencies are, in fact, human rights crises. Thus, "beneficiaries" of humanitarian aid are rights-holders. That said, human rights law is not an end in itself, rather a tool for improving the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict.

It is recognized that certain fundamental human rights provisions reflected in human rights and humanitarian law are applicable in all situations. While human rights law can be derogated from in some circumstances, this may not be done in relation to certain basic human rights. Some instruments have universal applicability in all senses of the word. No derogation are allowed from the CRC, but all rights belong to all persons at all times, in all situations.

The human rights approach in emergencies entails not only knowing the human rights framework and humanitarian principles, but it also entails sharing it with others or "disseminating" or "promoting" it. Part of the work to be done on the ground is also to develop an "operational checklist", so as to know how to respond to the human rights needs in daily work (modus operandi). Some of these checklists will involve long term projects, such as assisting the state in adopting internal legislation and standards that conform with international human rights law.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies