This policy defines the centrality of protection in humanitarian action, as per the December 2013 statement of the IASC Principals, as well as the process for its implementation at country level. In doing so, it seeks to reinforce complementary roles, mandates, and expertise of all relevant actors. Specifically, this policy emphasizes an IASC commitment to prioritize protection and contribute to collective protection outcomes, including through the development of an HCT protection strategy to address the most critical and urgent risks and violations. It also underlines the need to implement this commitment in all aspects of humanitarian action and across the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC). As such, the collective IASC roles and responsibilities in placing protection at the center of humanitarian action are explained, with due consideration for mandates and expertise and in line with humanitarian principles.
This policy is intended to support and build on the IASC’s Policy on the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons (1999). It also seeks to complement other initiatives in support of protection, particularly the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Up Front Initiative (HRUF). Humanitarian actors must also strictly adhere to the IASC commitments related to Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA): this means working proactively to prevent and protect affected persons from any abuse by humanitarian actors themselves.
This statement affirms the commitment of the IASC Principals to ensuring the centrality of protection in humanitarian action and the role of Humanitarian Coordinators, Humanitarian Country Teams and Clusters to implement this commitment in all aspects of humanitarian action. It is part of a number of measures that are meant to ensure more effective protection of people in humanitarian crises.
An estimated five to 30 percent of cluster munitions fail to explode when fired or dropped, either penetrating below the ground on impact, or remaining on the surface. Those underground can seriously impede the safe cultivation of land and the development of infrastructure. From a humanitarian worker’s perspective, it is essential that Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) pollution be limited. Parties to conflict must be held accountable for the use, the clean-up and the long term effects of the weapons they employ. Based on the work in the field, the IASC is convinced that within the overall problem of ERW, cluster munitions pose an exceptional humanitarian threat both during and after conflict.
The IASC is concerned that the issue of cluster munitions has not been adequately addressed. Those who use cluster munitions are unable to prevent the negative impact that these weapons have on civilians both during and after conflict. The IASC members therefore call for an immediate freeze on the use of cluster munitions until effective legal remedies aimed at resolving humanitarian concerns are in place.
The heads of the major international humanitarian agencies, both United Nations and international and non-governmental organizations , meeting in Rome took the unprecedented step of collectively expressing their deep dismay and outrage over the military actions in the occupied Palestinian territory and the consequences of such actions in exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.
IASC Policy Statement on Regroupment in Burundi Statement on humanitarian assistance to forcibly relocated communities in Burundi 19 January 2000
The IASC Principals issued the following assessment of humanitarian assistance to forcibly relocated communities in Burundi:
Since 20 September 1999 some 330,000 people, living mainly in the Province of Bujumbura Rural, have been forcibly relocated by the Government into 53 sites. The impact of this action on the affected populations has been disastrous as the Government failed to prepare the sites or to make provision for food, water and shelter for those relocated. Most of those relocated have lost their homes and possessions and are being denied access to their fields.
The IASC expresses its strong opposition to forced relocation in Burundi. In the view of the IASC this policy cannot be justified and is being implemented without regard for the rights and well-being of those affected. The IASC holds the Government responsible for the humanitarian consequences of this action.
The IASC calls upon the Government of Burundi to halt the forced relocation ("regroupement") of civilians, and to engage in a dialogue with the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team with a view to progressively dismantling forced relocation sites and encouraging the development of durable solutions for those affected.
In response to the Government's commitment to work towards an end to forced relocation, the agencies of the IASC agree to seek resources from the international community for emergency humanitarian aid to those affected by forced relocation. Humanitarian aid will be subject to the modalities and conditions spelled out in the IASC Common Policy on humanitarian assistance to forcibly relocated communities in Burundi. This assistance will be limited to "life-sustaining" items, including food, water, shelter, health care, sanitation and agricultural inputs for those who have regular access to their land. To the extent possible, help will be given in support of existing community structures, such as health centres, and to help communities authorised to return to their homes. Access to the relocation sites for humanitarian workers and Human Rights observers is essential.