This Framework sets out principles and a modus operandi for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, in the sectors of activity outlined in the Consolidated Appeal (CAP) 2009 and covering all stages of response, from needs assessment to project planning and implementation and to monitoring and evaluation – and from immediate relief to early recovery and reconstruction of infrastructure required for the provision of basic social services and the recovery of livelihoods. This document is based on existing principles that are globally acknowledged and universally accepted.
The full compliance with the present Framework is essential for the effective and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance to and within Gaza, in accordance with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law (IHL). It is aimed at responding to the most immediate needs of the population and does not undermine broader efforts to ensure efficient early recovery and development activities such as the Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA).
Principles governing the provision of humanitarian assistance
Those affected by humanitarian crises have the right to access assistance offered to them by humanitarian agencies. International humanitarian law includes specific provisions for assistance to civilian populations during conflict, obliging states and other parties to agree to the provision of impartial assistance and protection to affected populations. The delivery of humanitarian assistance, including protection, requires an operating environment that is conducive to the regular and continued deployment of staff and supplies, and managed in accordance with humanitarian principles.
The four core principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence are grounded in operational humanitarian practice. They were endorsed by the 194 States Parties to the Geneva Conventions who are also Parties to the Statutes of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement. They were also recognized by the UN General Assembly (Resolutions 46/182 of 19 December 1991 and 58/114 of 17 December 2003). These principles have also been incorporated into voluntary codes of conduct and organisational mission statements guiding humanitarian agencies and donors, such as The Code of Conduct of the International Red Cross Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations in Disaster Relief (1994). All agency members of the global Inter-Agency Standing Committee have signed up to them.
Humanity Human suffering must be addressed wherever it is found. The life, health, dignity and rights of all persons must be respected and protected.
Neutrality Humanitarian action must be carried out in a manner that does not take sides in hostilities.
Impartiality Humanitarian action must be guided solely by needs and therefore be carried out without discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, clan, political opinion, gender, nationality, race or religion. Priority must be given to the most urgent cases of distress.
Independence Humanitarian action must be autonomous from political, economic, military or other objectives that any actor may hold with regard to areas where humanitarian action is being implemented.
Practical application of the principles on humanitarian assistance
The Framework outlines the different requirements related to access and non-interference to be met by relevant actors for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, and the safe and regular passage and movement of humanitarian staff within and in and out of the Gaza Strip. The present document recognizes the different standing, rights and obligations of the actors mentioned herein: the Government of Israel (GoI), other State Parties to the Geneva Conventions, the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Hamas authorities in Gaza and the humanitarian organizations.
Nothing in the present document shall be interpreted to negate the obligation of Israel to protect and provide basic services to populations living in areas under Israeli occupation. Nor shall this document be interpreted to negate the right and obligation of Israel to defend its citizens within Israel.
Compliance with the Framework is essential to ensure that humanitarian assistance is consistently delivered and facilitated based on independent and reliable assessments of humanitarian needs, and in accordance with international obligations and principles. Third party states have an important role to play in holding all parties to their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to uphold principled humanitarian action.