War Child’s absolute top priority is protecting children. We must be able to deliver humanitarian aid, solely on the basis of need, without discrimination. In order to do this, impartiality across all areas of our work is key.
War Child was founded as a non-governmental humanitarian organisation. Our independence includes an obligation not to support any armed actor, regardless of their position in a conflict. and underpins our ability to work in contested spaces.
Impartiality will ensure we can gain access to all children who need us, and ensure all children are treated equally. To prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable children, wherever they are, we must not be seen by any actor or faction as being biased, as this might restrict our access to children. Our impartiality means that once we have reached children we are able to build trust within communities, and continue to treat all children with the equal respect they deserve.
We speak out when we believe International Humanitarian Law is not being upheld – there is no compromise when it comes to killing children or attacking school and hospitals, which are grave violations of children’s rights. We urge everyone to respect the protections afforded to children under these legal frameworks.
When we communicate publicly about a conflict, and how children are affected, we must prioritise our principles of impartiality in order to meet our key goals for children. Impartiality in our communications means remaining focussed on how children are affected, and calling for peace.
We are on the ground and ready to respond to the needs of children in Gaza as soon as it is safe enough to do so. We know it is going to take all the help we can get to reach the thousands of children who will be severely traumatised, and left with nothing, when the immediate dangers from this recent crisis subside.
The principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence are fundamental to humanitarian action.
Humanity means that human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found, with particular attention to the most vulnerable.
Neutrality means that humanitarian aid must not favour any side in an armed conflict or other dispute.
Impartiality means that humanitarian aid must be provided solely on the basis of need, without discrimination.
Independence means the autonomy of humanitarian objectives from political, economic, military or other objectives.
Humanitarian principles are endorsed by 2 UN General Assembly resolutions. They guide the work of all actors working in the humanitarian sphere, defining what humanitarian aid is: delivering life-saving assistance to those in need, without any adverse distinction. They distinguish humanitarian aid from other activities, for example those of political, religious, ideological, or military nature. Adherence to the humanitarian principles facilitates access and acceptance and helps humanitarian workers carry out their work.