Updated Edition Of Humanitarian Handbook Includes Section On Protection Principles

Aid groups on Thursday praised the release of an updated handbook to guide humanitarian response efforts, including a new chapter on protection principles, IRIN reports.

The 2011 edition of the handbook, titled “Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response,” places a “stronger emphasis on the protection and safety of affected populations” than earlier versions of the document, according to a press release by the Sphere Project, a consortium of humanitarian groups that publishes the guide (undated).

“The Sphere Standards are the benchmark for ensuring humane and fair humanitarian assistance to people in need around the world,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said during the launch in New York, U.N. News Centre reports. The 2011 version of the Sphere Handbook “will improve the quality of humanitarian assistance to survivors of disasters and conflicts,” she added (4/14).

The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” elaborates on the four protection principles outlined in the handbook, including the need to: “avoid exposing people to further harm as a result of [one’s] actions”; “ensure people’s access to impartial assistance – in proportion to need and without discrimination”; ” protect people from physical and psychological harm arising from violence and coercion”; and “assist people to claim their rights, access available remedies and recover from the effects of abuse” (Tran, 4/14).

The updated handbook also addresses “emerging issues like climate change, disaster risk reduction, disasters in urban settings, and education as well as early recovery of services, livelihoods and governance capacity of affected communities,” according to the Sphere Project release (undated).