Statement by Principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), Racism and Racial Discrimination in the Humanitarian Sector

Published Date

Many of our staff have been affected directly or indirectly by manifestations of racism and racial discrimination. It is incumbent upon us to examine and address racism and racial discrimination within our own organizations and in the humanitarian sector, including by expanding diversity at all levels in our workplaces, and fostering more inclusive and diverse ways of working.

As member organizations and standing invitees of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), as we work to tackle inequality and injustice in the context of humanitarian action, we must ensure that these human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination are fully realised within our own organisations. Specifically, we commit to:

  • reaffirming our pledges to zero tolerance to racism and racial discrimination and committing to eliminating such behaviour within all humanitarian work environments and operations.
  • working at all levels within and among our organizations to ensure we identify and address structural barriers to inclusion to eliminate all forms of racism and racial discrimination, including systemic and institutional racism.
  • creating an environment where all colleagues feel safe to speak about and report on incidents of racism and racial discrimination without fear of retaliation and ensuring that such reports and concerns are duly addressed.
  • strengthening our actions, accountability and policies to foster diversity and inclusion and ensure zero tolerance for racial discrimination in the humanitarian workforce.
  • nurturing the inclusive environment necessary for a diverse workforce to flourish – this includes fostering a workplace that promotes, values and respects diversity.
  • ensuring that all our staff are aware of their rights and comply with their responsibilities to ensure that humanitarian operations are free from racism and racial discrimination.
  • enhancing principled partnership at all levels with agencies representing the diversity of our societies and supporting their role as principal change makers.
  • ensuring that the IASC takes forward further actions during the next six months to address racism and racial discrimination at the workplace, as well as mitigating unconscious biases towards vulnerable populations and/or local partners.


  • Mr. Sean Callahan, President and the Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
  • Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Mr. Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Mr. Ignacio Packer, Executive Director, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)
  • Mr. Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General and CEO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
  • Mr. Samuel Worthington, Chief Executive Officer, InterAction
  • Mr. António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Mr. Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-SecretaryGeneral for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Ms. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Ms. Abby Maxman, Chair, Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR), and President and CEO, Oxfam America
  • Mr. Gareth Price-Jones, Executive Secretary, Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR)
  • Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Mr. Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Ms. Maimunah Mohammed Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
  • Ms. Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO