This learning session provided a more in-depth treatment of the principle of neutrality, focusing on practical dilemmas in its application.

Directly following this learning session, a discussion and consultation event in support of the World Humanitarian Summit was organized on the same topic.


Kate Mackintosh Kate Mackintosh has around 20 years broad experience in international human rights and humanitarian policy, practice and law. From 2003 to 2011, Kate worked with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), first as the International Law Adviser then as Head of Humanitarian Affairs at the Operational Centre in Amsterdam. She was a member of the Board of MSF Hong Kong for six years. Her experience includes working in Sarajevo as Senior Legal Adviser to the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Rwanda as a Human Rights Field Officer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and as a consultant to a wide range of organizations in the humanitarian sphere. Her publications have focused on the application of international law to the dilemmas of humanitarian action and the protection of civilians, as well as on the relationship between humanitarianism and criminal justice. She is currently the Deputy Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.


Marc DuBois Marc DuBois currently an independent humanitarian consultant/researcher/blogger, was the Executive Director of MSF-UK from March 2008 until March 2014. He joined MSF in 1999, landing as a project coordinator in Khartoum, Sudan, where he managed a basic healthcare program. Following Sudan, Marc went to Angola as a Humanitarian Affairs Officer and then moved to Amsterdam, spending over six years in the Humanitarian Affairs Department of MSF-Holland, first as an advisor and later as head of department and researcher. Marc has a degree in philosophy from Yale University (BA 1981), an MA in development studies from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague (1988) and a degree in law from Columbia University in New York (JD 1994).


Recording (YouTube - faster loading time)

Recording (Adobe Connect - higher quality)

Note that the Adobe Connect recording also includes the panel discussion that followed the presentation.

Session recording (downloadable audio podcast)

PHAP Credentialing Program

PHAP Credentialing Program

Applying Humanitarian Principles in Practice

This event will help you prepare for the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in Applying Humanitarian Principles in Practice.

The event will address domain 1, in particular, segments 1.1, 1.3, 1.6, 1.7, 1.11, and 1.12 of the certification assessment outline. It will also address some aspects of segment 3.1.

Read more about the PHAP Credentialing Program

Learning objectives

  • Understanding of the core humanitarian principle of neutrality, both in its definition and its implementation.
  • Knowledge of examples of the practical implications of neutrality in the course of humanitarian action.
  • Understanding of the nature of challenges and dilemmas involved in translating neutrality into operations.
  • Familiarity with the differing interpretations of neutrality within the humanitarian community.


PHAP members will have the possibility to undergo a two-part assessment after the session as part of the PHAP Continuous Learning Credits framework.

Part 1: Comprehension check

Part 2: Written reflection

To encourage peer learning among members, selected essay responses will also be published on the website, if approved by the writer. As a member, you can comment on the responses and read other members' comments.

Read the written reflections