In September and October 2015, PHAP organized a special series of live online discussions structured around the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. As part of the association’s support to the World Humanitarian Summit process, the focus of these events was less on theoretical definitions and more on the operational implications of these principles. The aim was not to “consult” directly on the principles, but rather to discuss – within the context of the principles – a series of problematic issues that have come under debate in the larger Summit consultation process.
This opening session acted as an introduction to the ensuing four events on the individual principles, ensuring that participants understand the nature of the challenges and dilemmas involved in translating principles into operational decisions. The session delineated the practical implications of the principles for humanitarian actors, and highlighted the central role of principles in interactions with government, military, and other actors. It also emphasized the interrelationship among the four principles, providing a basis for the next sessions, which focused on issues that are primarily related to each of the four principles individually.
The event is built on PHAP’s learning session in earlier 2015, which focused on how the core humanitarian principles relate to international humanitarian law.