The Twelve Basic Rules of Humanitarian Aid

The relief agencies and Federal Ministries represented on the Humanitarian Aid Coordination Committee agreed on "Twelve Basic Rules of Humanitarian Aid Abroad" for their cooperation.

  1. Catastrophes, wars and crises cause people suffering which they cannot overcome by their own efforts. To alleviate such suffering is the objective of humanitarian aid.
  2. All people are entitled to humanitarian aid and humanitarian protection; moreover they must be granted the right to provide humanitarian aid and humanitarian protection.
  3. Aid and protection shall be provided irrespective of race, religion, nationality, political convictions or other distinguishing features. Humanitarian aid must not be made conditional on political or religious attitudes and must not promote these. The only criterion in setting priorities for aid shall be the suffering of the people.
  4. The relief organizations and the state agencies participating in the discussion group shall act on their own initiative according to their own guidelines and strategies for implementation.
  5. They shall respect the dignity of man in providing aid.
  6. They shall respect the laws and customs of the country concerned. If the efforts to provide the best possible aid collide with regulations in force in the recipient country, a solution to this conflict shall be sought bearing in mind the objective of humanitarian aid.
  7. They shall assist each other and cooperate in humanitarian aid measures as far as possible.
  8. Those providing aid shall be accountable to both the recipients of the aid and those whose donations and supplies they accept.
  9. Humanitarian aid is first and foremost aid for survival. It shall include self-help measures and shall help to reduce susceptibility to catastrophe. Where necessary, it shall take development needs into consideration.
  10. From the very beginning the organizations and state agencies active in humanitarian aid shall involve local partners in their planning and measures.
  11. The recipients shall also be involved in organizing and implementing the measures.
  12. Aid supplies must be used according to needs and should correspond to local standards; only the current emergency determines the selection and delivery of aid. In procuring aid supplies, priority must be given to purchasing them in the region hit by the catastrophe.

Last updated 23.06.2000

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