What are the main challenges for humanitarian response and meeting the needs of affected people in situations of armed conflict in North and Southeast Asia?


“Finding a sustainable solution in building strong and democratic states, and being able to make effective contributions to reducing the degree of conflict.”
- Officer of Human Rights and Peace Issues, International Organization, Sweden

“Emerging challenges in the region include the state using military force against their own citizens and restricting humanitarian assistance to displaced population. This is used as military strategy for pressuring decedent groups. The challenge is the absence of international legal framework to address this issue. Recent examples include ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, conflict in North Pakistan, the North Korean regime starving its own population, and stateless refugees in Bangladesh following the 1971 war and secession from Pakistan.”
-Head of Sub-Office, UN agency, Pakistan

“A valid and major challenge in humanitarian assistance will be how to best assist North Koreans if armed conflict should arise, or even prior to such an event.”
-Staff member, U.S. Forces, South Korea

“Access to those in need. Analyzing the actors and power relationships. How much to compromise with one party to assist those in need. Maintaining the perception of neutrality. Monitoring an often fluid conflict situation. Also not being the spark to ignite the conflict.”
-Humanitarian Coordinator, Medical relief organization, Myanmar

“Emergency management, alert management, and rescue measures.”
-Community Liaison Assistant, UN Agency, Democratic Republic of the Congo

“The dominant power centers of the parties in conflict tend not to respect the real needs and sufferings of the people affected. Nor do they respect a specific gender issue – giving the power of decision-making to women – which would thus enable women to participate in carrying out humanitarian response. This contrasts the key role Dalit girls and women played and witnessed in West Bengal, preparing for floods and respective humanitarian actions.”
-Director, Policy organization

“Access!”
-Humanitarian Expert, International nongovernmental organization, Spain

“Need to persuade major funding sources that victims are vulnerable particularly in those states that are not supported by major funding nations.”
-Community Capacity Building Advisor, Gibraltar

“The main challenges for humanitarian response in North and South East Asia remains related to safety, specifically when involved with groups that do not respect international humanitarian law.”
-Regional Coordinator, Media network, Philippines

“A distinct template for the conduct of humanitarian assistance in complex conflict situations is needed. It cannot be the same as in non-conflict areas. Humanitarians are not perceived as neutral anymore especially by non-state actors whose objective is plain criminality, like kidnapping for ransom.”
-Humanitarian and Peace Worker, Philippines

“Delivering humanitarian aid in situations where humanitarian assistance itself is perceived as being partial to one group and thus blocked, targeted, and attacked. Delivering humanitarian aid in contexts where no political dialogue between conflicting parties exists. State-centric approaches to humanitarian assistance in North and South East Asia, where states are often directly involved in conflict. Asian governments focus on disasters but are uncomfortable discussing conflict, and have a limited understanding of humanitarian principles.”
-Research Fellow, Academic institute, United Kingdom

“Capacity to respond with speed without compromising the security and safety of humanitarian aid workers.”
-Knowledge Management, International NGO, Philippines

“Safety and security of various humanitarian personnel working in countries of armed conflict. Some governments do not support the presence and efforts of NGOs and other humanitarian organizations in their own country.”
-Planning and Training Officer, International organization, Philippines

“Inefficient government mechanisms and structural problems, sometimes political will and prejudices.”
-Project Manager, Human Rights NGO, Philippines

“Weak accountability and justice mechanisms.”
-National Coordinator, NGO, Philippines

“Getting and coordinating efforts with participating agencies, either donors or host.”
-Government Official, Malaysia

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