Non-State Actors and the Evolution of Humanitarian Norms

Implications of the Sphere Charter in Health and Nutrition Relief

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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The Sphere Humanitarian Charter, a self-regulation instrument of humanitarian non-State actors, establishes principles and minimum standards in the provision of humanitarian assistance in select vital life-saving relief activities, especially in nutrition and health. The Charter articulates principles and minimum standards for facilitating the achievement of rights and obligations enshrined in various international legal “soft law” instruments. Due to the multiplicity of international legal instruments, the Sphere Charter provides a tool for a coherent understanding and application of relevant obligations, and therefore increases accountability and efficiency. The Sphere Charter bold human rights based approach to humanitarian assistance, including its articulation of a right to receive humanitarian assistance, may contribute to the evolution of the international legal regime into a more “victim centered” system. The central argument postulated in this article is that although the Sphere Charter is not a binding legal instrument, it has significant normative value that may contribute to progressive developments in the legal regime governing humanitarian assistance, and is particularly helpful in improving accountability and quality in the provision of nutrition and health relief. The Sphere Charter framework for local participation is particularly viewed as significant in engendering accountability in relief activities.

Non-State Actors and the Evolution of Humanitarian Norms

Implications of the Sphere Charter in Health and Nutrition Relief

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies

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References

10

Cubiesupra note 5 at 200.

12

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 7.

22

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 140–238.

55

Sheltonsupra note 48 at 141.

56

Boylesupra note 46 at 123. Soft law though non-binding may influence State and non-State activities in relation to developing obligations not yet properly enshrined in treaty provisions or customary international law. Cubie supra note 5 at 183.

68

Cubiesupra note 5 at 205.

77

Cubiesupra note 5 at 186. ngos make indispensable contributions to the “functioning of the international human rights regime”. H. J. Steiner P. Alston and R. Goodman International Human Rights in Context (2007) at 1420–1421. International human rights norms are important in defining rights and responsibilities relating to the provision of humanitarian assistance.

80

Brownliesupra note 51 at 25.

89

Gostelowsupra note 86 at 316.

97

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 6.

105

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 22.

110

Hammsupra note 103 at 1006.

111

Gostelowsupra note 86 at 317–318.

113

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 21.

120

M.V. Dyke and R. Waldman‘The Sphere Project Evaluation Report’Mailman School of Public Health Columbia UniversityJanuary 2004 at 31 http://www.unscn.org/layout/modules/resources/files /Evaluation_report.pdf (last accessed 25 August 2013).

123

Dyke and Waldmansupra note 120 at 7.

126

Cubiesupra note 5 at 203.

127

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 7.

128

Cubiesupra note 5 at 201.

134

Dyke and Waldmansupra note 120 at 35.

137

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 5.

140

Tongsupra note 92 at 180.

142

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 8.

145

Bhattsupra note 132 at 15. The author of the cited article was Director Disaster Mitigation Institute at Ahmedabad in India.

146

Mompointsupra note 73 at 14. The author of the cited article was the Regional Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator for West Africa of Oxfam. Lotus McDougal and Jennifer Beard point out that donors are greatly concerned with the capacity of the agencies receiving funding to monitor and assess the efficiency of their humanitarian assistance projects. They therefore opine that the Sphere Charter standards and indicators are an important mechanism for determining whether funding is utilized appropriately and if accountability and efficiency is established donors may be more willing to continue financing projects. Lotus McDougal and Jennifer Beard ‘Revisiting Sphere: New Standards of Service Delivery for New Trends in Protracted Displacement’ 35 Disasters 87 (2011) at 93.

147

Cubiesupra note 5 at 203.

149

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 55.

150

Fengler and Kharassupra note 138 at 7.

155

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 4.

158

Dyke and Waldmansupra note 120 at 48.

159

Mompointsupra note 73 at 14. The author of the cited article was the Regional Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator for West Africa of Oxfam.

161

Bhattsupra note 132 at 15. The author of cited article was Director Disaster Mitigation Institute at Ahmedabad in India.

163

Fengler and Kharassupra note 138 at 7.

164

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 6.

168

Bhattsupra note 132 at 15. The author of cited article was Director at dmi.

170

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 55

186

Cubiesupra note 5 at 201.

187

Dyke and Waldmansupra note 120 at 43.

188

Cubiesupra note 5 at 201. See also Terry supra note 135 at 20–21. The author of the cited article was Research Director at msf in Paris France.

191

Barbersupra note 32 at 377.

192

Tongsupra note 92 at 185.

193

Allan and O’Donnellsupra note 45 at 62–63.

197

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 21.

205

Fengler and Kharassupra note 138 at 2.

208

Sphere Projectsupra note 9 at 7.

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