Our stance on humanitarian principles
As a humanitarian agency, NRC works objectively, independently and without bias. We are bound to the principles of humanitarian action.
Since the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement first promoted them in the 19th century, these principles have shaped the nature of modern aid. Today, they are codified in international humanitarian law.
Not just a doctrine, the principles serve as practical tools to guide and enable our everyday work.
The core of our mission never wavers: to protect the rights of displaced people during crisis. So we put these principles to practice.
To prevent and alleviate suffering wherever it may be found. To protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being.
To carry out humanitarian action without discrimination, to relieve suffering, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
To remain independent from political, economic, military or other non-humanitarian objectives.
To abstain from taking sides in hostilities. To refrain from engagement in political, religious, racial or ideological debates and controversies.
Strengthening the principles: our advocacy work
Organisations such as NRC use these principles to identify the people who are most in need of assistance and protection. We then use the principles to gain access to them, through negotiations with communities and the parties to the armed conflict.
Even though there is a strong awareness of these principles, agencies sometimes struggle to apply them. For instance, a state's policies can make it difficult to deliver aid and still remain impartial.
NRC works to increase awareness of, and adherence to, these principles. Our office in Geneva provides policy guidance and influences processes that will help protect, assist and gain access to people forced to flee.
- We engage in dialogue with governments and humanitarian actors.
- We organise workshops, roundtables, high-level conferences and meetings with governments and non-governmental humanitarian actors.
- We undertake practical research and document our main findings.
- We develop tools and strategies to reinforce humanitarian access.
Major events and conferences
Humanity at the centre of humanitarian action
Last week, NRC called for humanity to be at the core of humanitarian action at the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Geneva.
On the need to balance counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian action
Over a thousand humanitarian leaders are gathering today in Geneva for the final global consultation ahead of next year’s World Humanitarian Summit. The Summit has set itself the ambitious goal of “reshaping the humanitarian system.” “Many of the issues raised thus far have been spot-on,” says Ingrid Macdonald, Director of Humanitarian Policy at NRC.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Code of Conduct
On Friday 5th December, the Norwegian Refugee Council and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies hosted 80 government representatives and humanitarian organisations across the world in an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief, at the IFRC in Geneva.
Challenges to Principled Humanitarian Action: Perspectives from four countries
The humanitarian principles — humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence — are under increased scrutiny and pressure. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to an increased understanding of the perceived and actual challenges humanitarians face in operational contexts as they apply the principles.
Risk Management Toolkit
This toolkit is intended to contribute to an increased understanding of the connection between counterterrorism measures and humanitarian action and highlight steps that humanitarian organisations can take and are taking to address some of the main challenges and risks associated with these measures.