|Policy Framework for CARE Internationalâ€™s Relations with Military Forces|
In the past decade international responses to complex emergencies have increasingly called on peacekeeping and military-led missions, alongside the more traditional and standardized military responses to natural disasters. Increased interventionism on the part of the UN, regional organizations and the major Western powers in response to internal conflicts has led to new challenges to military and humanitarian interaction. In both natural disasters and conflict, the members of the CARE confederation often find themselves working in proximity to a range of military actors, state forces and international operations.
The humanitarian and military actors have fundamentally different institutional thinking and cultures, and the two groups have different mandates, competencies objectives and modus operandi, which should not be confused.
CAREâ€™s decisions about how it interacts with the military should always be consistent with its principles and obligations. There are five organisational principles that are central in defining CARE as a non-governmental organisation engaged in humanitarian action.
â€˘Â Humanitarian imperative
â€˘Â Safety and security of staff
Humanitarian principles constitute the core basis for CAREâ€™s ability to work safely and effectively in conflict. While the threats confronting aid agencies are manifold, the safety and security of CAREâ€™s staff, programmes and beneficiaries is contingent on CAREâ€™s neutrality, impartiality and independence from military operations. Inappropriate interactions or the perception of blurred linesÂ between humanitarian and military actors can undermine aid agenciesâ€™ acceptance among local populations and parties to the conflict as well as increase the level of insecurity. The unintended negative consequences of associations between aid programmes and military forces can outweigh any short-term benefits.
CARE also recognises that military forces have obligations related to humanitarian assistance and protection of civilian populations, as established by international humanitarian law and customary law . Under certain circumstances, the military may provide assistance or support relief operations. In such contexts, military involvement in relief operations should always respect the principle of distinction between military and humanitarian operations.
CARE will strive to develop joint approaches with other aid agencies to civil-military relations.
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