Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies

As part of the ECOSOC humanitarian affairs segment, a meeting was held to discuss how to respond to the needs of people in complex emergency situations. Beginning the meeting, H.E. Mr. Dabbashi, gave a statement on how to provide more sustainable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stated how partnerships between international and local actors must be strengthened in order for humanitarian aid to have the greatest effect.

Following, Ms. Amos, the USG for Humanitarian Affairs, stated that 75% of crises requiring humanitarian response are due to conflicts or complex emergencies, and 33.3 million people worldwide are displaced in their own countries due to conflict. Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of talking with armed groups in conflict zones in order for aid workers to be able to gain access to the effected civilians.Image

Next, Mr. Ramos Horta from the UN peacebuilding office spoke about how civilians oftentimes bear the brunt of casualties from conflicts, especially in Syria, Central African Republic, and Iraq. In these areas conflict and violence against civilians are leading to massive displacement, loss of livelihoods, restriction of movement, sexual violence, and long periods of insecurity. Mr. Ramos Horta emphasized that shifts in global geopolitical and economic power must be accompanied by a growing responsibility of these actors to respond to humanitarian crises, and that this humanitarian action must be complimented by more intensive investment in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, mediation of political settlements, and post conflict recovery.

Following, Mr. Al-Kholani spoke about the growing crises in his home country, Yemen, where thousands of IDPs are in vulnerable situations due to conflict. Yemen has created a single governmental authority, the Executive Unit for Internally Displaced Persons, to handle their IDP crisis. Dr. Philip Spoerri from the Red Cross then spoke about using the international humanitarian law (IHL) framework to protect civilians in armed conflict, and to restrict the flow of weapons. IHL imposes obligations on both state and non-state actors, and the biggest challenge to IHL is that in conflict situations it is often blatantly ignored.

 

Meeting Title: Economic and Social Council Humanitarian Affairs Segment: Panel Discussion on “Serving the needs of people in complex emergencies”
Speakers: H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau; Mr. Ahmed Al-Kholani, Director of the Executive Unit of Internally Displaced Persons and Camps Management, Yemen; Dr. Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation, International Committee of the Red Cross; Mgr. Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui; Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, President of the Islamic Council in the Central African Republic; Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, President of the Central African Republic’s Evangelical Alliance
Date: 25 June 2014
Location ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Humanitarian Crises in Colombia and Myanmar

Rakhine camp._(8288488088)Today in the Trusteeship Council a meeting was convened on the humanitarian crises in Colombia and Myanmar. Beginning the meeting, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Kang, gave a briefing on the situation in Colombia, which continues to be grave as the country faces various humanitarian challenges including natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, as well as widespread violence from armed conflict. Currently, there are over 5.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia, with the biggest threats to human security coming from violence against women, the recruitment of child soldiers, and the use of land mines. She pointed out the importance of humanitarian relief funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), but urged donors to do more in supporting Colombia’s humanitarian needs.

Next, Mr. Hochschild, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Colombia, gave a statement about how decreases in poverty in Colombia have not been matched by decreases in inequality. He pointed out the three main dimensions of inequality that persist in Colombia, which are gender inequality, ethnic inequality, and geographic inequality. This inequality combined with ongoing conflict is only making the humanitarian situation in Colombia worse. Following, the Permanent Representative of Colombia spoke about how Colombia must overcome conflict in a sustainable way, so victims and survivors are at the center of the post conflict resolution process. She called for the support of the UN, and pointed out how war is a significant driver of poverty, and every opportunity needs to be taken to promote peace.

Next, Ms. Kang then gave a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Myanmar, where thousands of people in Rakhine and Kachin states continue to rely on humanitarian aid, and are so far unable to rebuild their lives due to conflict. The IDP camps are in terrible condition, severely restrict freedom of movement, and seriously lack access to adequate health care, water, and jobs. Myanmar also suffers from regular earthquakes, floods, and cyclones, which contribute to the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Concluding the meeting, the Permanent Representative of Myanmar spoke about the trust deficit that exists between the government and the donor community. He called for a human rights based approach to humanitarian aid, and an improvement of relations between Myanmar’s government and UN organizations/NGOs.

 

Meeting Title: “The Humanitarian Situation in Colombia and Myanmar” (Organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA))
Speakers: Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Resident and Coordinator for Colombia; H.E. Ms. Maria Emma Mejia Velez, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN; Mr. Kyaw, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the UN
Date: 18 June 2014
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan