Humanitarian Aid

Mitarbeiter des Roten Halbmonds warten im syrischen Deir ez-Zor auf Lebensmittelabwürfe Enlarge image (© WFP)

Humanitarian Aid is aimed at supporting people in need: whether they became victims of natural disasters, epidemics or conflicts in their home region. 

The German Federal Foreign Office can deploy emergency help abroad within a few hours.

Geneva is known as the capital of humanitarian aid. A large number of international organizations do have their headquarters in the Swiss city: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), among others. Geneva can also be regarded as the center where humanitarian law is shaped as ICRC and the International Law Commission (ILC) are closely cooperating here.

Often, humanitarian aid has to be implemented in a critical political environment, under difficult security conditions and with a lack of time. However, Germany and other donor countries are engaged in keeping the following principles with high priority:

  • Humanity: Human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found. The focus lies on the most vulnerable groups.
  • Neutrality: Especially in a critical political environment it is necessary not to take sides. Having a neutral position as an aid organization is crucial in order to get access to people in need and safeguarding the staff and volunteer security.
  • Impartiality: Need is the only factor regulating the amount of help. It is unacceptable to discriminate any human being.
  • Independence: Humanitarian action must be autonomous from political, economic, military or any other objectives.
  • Objectivity: The help needed is calculated as a result of objective criteria.
  • Subsidiarity: First of all, the affected government is responsible for the protection and care of its population. If for any reason the government is not able or willing to fulfil its obligations, international aid takes over.
  • Protection: Preventing people from being harmed – as for instance by sexual violence or human trafficking – is an integral component of humanitarian aid.

Further information:

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