Handbook on humanitarian support launched

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

The international standards for humanitarian support have been compiled in a Handbook under the Sphere Project (Sphere) that was initiated in 1997 by a group of humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
“The idea to develop guidelines or the Handbook was initiated after the Rwanda crises when it was noted that several aid workers were contributing to harm, while trying to deliver the good,” Christine Knudsen, Executive Director Sphere said here Tuesday, talking to media. The aid agencies and authorities should be held formally and legally responsible for the welfare of people within their territory or control and, more generally, for the safety of civilians in armed conflict.
She is in Pakistan for consultations with the stake holders to upgrade the Sphere Handbook, which was first published in 2000 and revised in 2003 and again in 2009–2010. The revision process sector-wide consultations are conducted, involving a wide range of agencies, organizations and individuals, including governments and United Nations (UN) agencies.
The case studies based on the feedback from various agencies who participated in rescue, relief and rehabilitation works during the 2010 floods in Pakistan will be included in the Handbook currently being upgraded.

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