Empowering beneficiaries: Humanitarian professionals at a crossroads?

Humanitarian organizations face an inevitable tension that arises from two separate accountability structures. One framework, established by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, holds organizations accountable to host states and donor states. A second framework, the human rights based approach, calls for accountability to individuals affected by hostilities. These two accountability structures create a multiplicity of obligations for humanitarian operators, who must simultaneously respond to the expectations of host state authorities, maintain accountability to donors, and respond to the needs of beneficiaries.

March, 2012