Do the ideas of the humanitarian principles help or hinder partnership between faith-based and non-faith-based organisations (particularly in relation to impartiality and neutrality)?
PHAP member (Ireland)
Answer posted: 8 August 2015
There is a recognition of the tensions between faith-based organizations (FBOs) and the humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality – particularly in terms of perceptions relating to FBOs working with their own communities as well as conversion and proselytization.
FBOs need to further explore and discuss how they can overcome those tensions – especially in terms of "understanding the spiritual wisdom of humanity," i.e. in using spirituality as a mechanism higher than just simply faith for developing a consensus towards understanding human value and responding to need. If FBOs can come to a consensus on spiritual value that transcends their faith, they would be better able to address tensions concerning the deficit of trust of their impartiality. Thus there needs to be greater dialogue within and between faiths (and FBOs) to not only understand humanitarian principles and International Humanitarian Law, but also look at relations with (and between) faiths, traditions, and cultures.
About the author
Amjad Mohamed-Saleem is a free-lance consultant from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and was born in Nigeria. In this capacity he has advised the Commonwealth Foundation, International Alert, among others. In this capacity, he also worked as the Head of Communications and manager of Conflicts Programme for the Cordoba Foundation. He has been country director of the NGO Muslim Aid in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He has also worked in Myanmar, looking at the role the private sector could have in reaching people that humanitarian organizations have trouble reaching themselves, and on issues of peacebuilding and the role of faith in conflict reconciliation in Asia.