The Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic deals with the following organizations related to the humanitarian affairs and migration: UNHCR, OCHA, IOM, ICRC, IFRC, Good Humanitarian Donorship and others.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the UN General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.
In more than five decades, the agency has helped people restart their lives. Today, a staff of around 6,500 people in more than 116 countries continues to help 31.7 million persons.
The Executive Committee (ExCom) is currently made up of 76 member States, ExCom meets in Geneva annually to review and approve UNHCR's programmes and budget, advise on international protection and discuss a wide range of other issues with UNHCR and its intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. ExCom's Standing Committee meets several times each year to carry on ExCom's work between plenary sessions. The Standing Committee of the Executive Committee meets four times a year. The Czech Republic is an Observer to both Executive and Standing Committee.
OCHA-UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
OCHA's mission is to mobilise and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to:
• alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies
• advocate for the rights of people in need
• promote preparedness and prevention
• facilitate sustainable solutions.
In December 1991, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 46/182, designed to strengthen the United Nation's response to both complex emergencies and natural disasters. In addition it aimed at improving the overall effectiveness of the UN's humanitarian operations in the field.
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC)
The ICRC, established in 1863 as the impartial, neutral and non-profit organization, has a legal mandate from the international community. That mandate has two sources:
- the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which task the ICRC with visiting prisoners, organizing relief operations, re-uniting separated families and similar humanitarian activities during armed conflicts;
- the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement), which encourage it to undertake similar work in situations of internal violence, where the Geneva Conventions do not apply.
The Geneva Conventions are binding instruments of international law, applicable worldwide. The Statutes of the Movement are adopted at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which takes place every four years, and at which States that are party to the Geneva Conventions take part, thereby conferring a quasi-legal or “soft law” status on the Statutes.
ICRC activities on behalf of people affected by war
Humanitarian work in times of war. Specific sections on: aid for civilians and prisoners, reuniting families, tracing missing persons, spreading knowledge of humanitarian law. Includes relations with States, the international community and the private sector and cooperation with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
ICRC maintains a permanent presence in over 60 countries and conducts operations in about 80. Essential support and back-up to its field operations is provided from its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ICRC is governed by the Assembly (the supreme governing body), the Assembly Council (a subsidiary body of the Assembly, to which the latter delegates certain of its powers) and the Directorate (the executive body). The Assembly and the Assembly Council are both chaired by ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, Ph.D.
In 2002 the Assembly decided to modify the structure of the Directorate to enable senior management to better meet the challenges facing the organization in the coming years.
The ICRC is funded by contributions from the States party to the Geneva Conventions (governments); national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies; supranational organizations (such as the European Commission); and public and private sources. All funding is voluntary.
The ICRC does not wait to receive funds before it responds to urgent needs in the field, and counts on the goodwill of its contributors to provide the funds as quickly as possible.
At the end of each year the ICRC launches two budget appeals, for headquarters and the field, to cover the coming year. Operational information and statistical and financial tables (based on the original appeals) are combined in an Annual Report.
For 2009, the total Emergency Appeal is 996 mil. CHF (399 mil. CHF for Africa, 192 mil. CHF for Asia and the Pacific, 147 mil. CHF for Europe and the Americas and 210 mil. CHF for the Middle East and North Africa). The Headquarters Appeal asks for 168.6 mil. CHF.
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES (IFRC)
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.
Founded in 1919, the International Federation comprises 186 member Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, a Secretariat in Geneva and more than 60 delegations strategically located to support activities around the world. There are more societies in formation. The Red Crescent is used in place of the Red Cross in many Islamic countries.
The Federation's vision: to strive, through voluntary action, for a world of empowered communities, better able to address human suffering and crises with hope, respect for dignity and a concern for equity.
Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. Vulnerable people are those who are at greatest risk from situations that threaten their survival, or their capacity to live with an acceptable level of social and economic security and human dignity. Often, these are victims of natural disasters, poverty brought about by socio-economic crises, refugees, and victims of health emergencies.
The Federation carries out relief operations to assist victims of disasters, and combines this with development work to strengthen the capacities of its member National Societies. The Federation's work focuses on four core areas: promoting humanitarian values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and community care.
The unique network of National Societies - which cover almost every country in the world - is the Federation's principal strength. Cooperation between National Societies gives the Federation greater potential to develop capacities and assist those most in need. At a local level, the network enables the Federation to reach individual communities.
The role of the Secretariat in Geneva is to coordinate and mobilize relief assistance for international emergencies, promote cooperation between National Societies and represent these National Societies in the international field.
The role of the field delegations is to assist and advise National Societies with relief operations and development programmes, and encourage regional cooperation.
The Federation, together with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD)
GHD has the potential to make major differences in your ability to reach more people in need, more quickly, more effectively and more equitably" (Ian Smillie, Tufts University, Ottawa 2004).
Donor Governments are spending more and more money on humanitarian aid. In 2004 nearly $5 billion, over 10% of official development assistance, was spent on emergency relief. This money pays for the food, medical care and other essentials critical to the survival of those affected by war and natural disasters. It is vital that this money is used effectively.
A major challenge is making sure that enough money is available at the right time. This money then needs to be spent on the right kind of assistance, and targeted according to need: not political affiliation, ethnicity, religion or race.
Donor governments recognise their pivotal role in addressing these challenges. In 2003 a number of donor governments created the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative to work towards achieving efficient and principled humanitarian assistance. 35 donor bodies have now signed up to these principles.
The GHD initiative provides a forum for donors to discuss good practice in Humanitarian Financing and other shared concerns. By defining principles and standards it provides both a framework to guide official humanitarian aid and a mechanism for encouraging greater donor accountability.
A meeting held in Stockholm in 2003 brought together donor countries, United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It agreed on a set of principles and good practice of humanitarian donorship.
Annual meetings have reviewed progress and agreed future directions. Read the outcomes of these meetings: Stockholm 2003, Ottawa 2004, New York 2005, Geneva 2006 and Geneva 2007.