Humanitarian assistance is one of the primary instruments of reconstruction during or after any conflict. The goal of humanitarian assistance is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and minimize the economic costs of conflict, disasters, and displacement. It requires urgent responses to rapid-onset emergencies, and concerted efforts to address hunger and protracted crisis situations, and build capacity to prevent and mitigate the effects of conflict and disasters. Humanitarian assistance is also the genesis of the transition to long-term political, economic, and social investments that can eliminate the root causes of conflict and displacement. Thus, humanitarian assistance plays a major role in the political, economic and social reconstruction in post-conflict societies.
Non-Aligned Movement is committed to enhance international cooperation to provide humanitarian assistance in full compliance with the UN Charter. NAM has reiterated that the provision of humanitarian assistance must not be politicised and must be in full respect of the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality as set forth in General Assembly Resolution 46/182.
The UNGA Resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991 mentions that “Humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality. The sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States must be fully respected in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. In this context, humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal by the affected country”. In accordance with this resolution, NAM’s principled position is that all UN humanitarian entities and associated organisations must act in accordance with their respective mandates, international humanitarian law and national law.
NAM is firmly of the opinion that the affected state has the primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination and implementation of Humanitarian Assistance within its territory, while underlining the need to avoid diversion of the humanitarian aid, and to ensure that the populations in need of humanitarian assistance are the sole beneficiaries of such aid. NAM has stressed that the affected state has the responsibility first and foremost in responding and assisting the victims of natural disasters and other emergencies occurring in its territory. Furthermore, the affected state has the primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination and implementation of humanitarian assistance within its territory.
NAM has called upon the international community to provide full support, including financial resources, for emergency humanitarian assistance at all levels and stressed the need to maintain the follow-up, oversight and review by the General Assembly of the activities undertaken by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ensure its functioning according to the agreed principles contained in the relevant UN resolutions, in particular General Assembly Resolution 46/182. CERF, launched on 9 March 2006, represents an important international multilateral funding instrument providing rapid initial funding for life-saving assistance at the onset of humanitarian crises, and critical support for poorly funded, essential humanitarian response operations.
There are a number of recent examples where NAM Member States have been actively providing humanitarian aid in conflict affected regions. One of such prominent examples of humanitarian assistance was undertaken by India in December 2016 as it pledged USD 1.25 million to the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees as it voiced concern over the fragile situation and on- going conflicts in the Middle East region that is aggravating problems of refugees. In May 2017, Singapore announced that it would contribute US$100,000 to kick-start the public fundraising appeal by the Singapore Red Cross, which has been engaged in providing relief in Sri Lanka after heavy floods and landslides caused massive destruction of life and property in the South Asian Island country. In another such example, Egypt sent a cargo carrying food and medical aid worth 12,000 tons in Juba -the capital of conflict ridden South Sudan- in June 2017 help those in need of humanitarian assistance across the country.