NGOs’ Rights and Responsibilities for Humanitarian Access

In recent years, humanitarian organizations have seen a rise in constraints on their access to vulnerable populations in times of conflict or internal disturbance. While international law provides important bases for humanitarian NGOs to obtain access to populations in need, it also imposes clear responsibilities on humanitarian organizations in terms of the maintenance of a neutral, independent and impartial approach to such situations. States remain primarily responsible for the provision of emergency assistance to their populations. However, in countries such as Pakistan or the Sudan governments are engaged in counter-insurgency campaigns and may use humanitarian access as a political tool. How then should organizations respond to these legal and policy constraints?

Published: 
December, 2011

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