Australia: Bringing balance to war - reaffirming the value of neutral humanitarian action

Neutral, impartial independent humanitarian action - otherwise known as NIIHA – is a key approach that allows the ICRC to help conflict-affected communities in some of the most extreme environments in the world.

Abiding by these principles means we don't take sides in a fight, we treat victims according to the most urgent needs, and we deliver our aid autonomously, not dictated by the agendas of others.

Despite the fundamental importance of these principles, they are continuously challenged in today's conflict zones. Aid is politicised, with humanitarian convoys blocked from bringing relief to war-torn communities; hospitals and health-care workers are routinely attacked; and political and media discourses challenge the right of humanitarian actors to deal with all warring parties in a conflict.

For a deeper perspective on these issues, Andrea Lunt from the ICRC Australia Mission recently sat down with Pete Giugni, an Australian delegate who has just returned from his latest posting as the ICRC's global protection coordinator based in Washington D.C.

Pete's diverse career with the ICRC has taken him from the tribal areas of south-eastern Afghanistan to the corridors of the White House in the United States – experiences that have given him a critical insight into the importance of principled humanitarian action.