Self-Governance by Humanitarian Non-State Actors in Health and Nutrition Relief
DePaul Journal of Health Care Law, Vol. 16, No. 2 (2014) 141-164
Posted: 22 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2014
The provision of food and nutrition relief has generally comprised the largest share of international humanitarian resources in cases of complex humanitarian disasters. Given that poor quality or unsuitable health assistance can have grossly negative consequences such as ‘increased morbidity, mortality, and disability,’ increasingly, humanitarian agencies are recognizing the need for a common set of standards and guiding principles for humanitarian health assistance. The central argument postulated in this paper is that despite the absence of a proper global legal enforcement mechanism of the obligation to provide quality humanitarian assistance in health and nutrition, emerging self-governing mechanisms, such as the Sphere Humanitarian Charter, provides a useful mechanism for self-regulation and action by civil society organizations. Such self-regulatory mechanisms contribute to the development of international customary law with regard to an emerging responsibility to provide effective humanitarian assistance.
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