Intervention by Ambassador Katalin Bogyay on Ethnic and Cultural Dimensions of Disasters and Emergencies at the Alliance of Civilisations Group of Friends Meeting, held on 18 February 2015.
High Representative, Mr. Al-Nasser,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For me, a humanitarian approach is the one that measures every action against the values of human rights and freedoms; values of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and rejection of violence; values of equality, non-discrimination, and non-stigmatization. These are the values of democracies, of inclusive societies, where all groups or individuals have equal opportunities of meaningful engagement in the lives of their communities.
These values form a cornerstone of human dignity, and drive the progress of our civilization. And it is precisely when these values are ignored, violated or suppressed that the seeming progress in various areas of human activity does not lead to a general human welfare, and may very well undermine it.
I truly believe, that to address adequately the major global problems that confront us today, we need to start from promoting and reinforcing the right type of values, and redefining the very idea of how we relate to each other and to the environment in which we live in.
There is a strong call for reaffirming the basic humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Humanitarian action based on these principles is the manifestation of solidarity with the vulnerable and the respect of human dignity - grounds that are common to all cultures and religions and thus unite all of us. We should together strive to uphold and observe these universal values in the hardest contexts, including armed conflicts, and ensure greater respect of international humanitarian action and international humanitarian law by all actors involved.
During conflicts and emergencies, minorities are at the greatest risk and the international community must take all necessary measures to protect members of religious and ethnic minorities in the framework of humanitarian assistance. We must ensure that minorities, whether internally displaced or refugees, have access to humanitarian aid and relief such as food, shelter and health care. The protection of minorities also includes the need to respect their religious and cultural heritage, including during humanitarian crises, which is essential to preserve their identity.
Hungary believes that events such as those taking place today in Northern Iraq, Syria, or the brutal killing of the 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya few days ago, should serve as wake-up call for the international community and mobilize action for the protection of vulnerable populations.
By bringing together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises and new partners including the private sector to propose solutions to our most pressing humanitarian challenges, the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and the consultation process leading up to it is an excellent example of dialogue among different actors and regions. The Summit must be a call for humanity and make humanitarian action more effective and accountable.
Hungary has always aimed to contribute to international humanitarian action to the fullest extent allowed by its economic and financial circumstances. We were pleased to recently host the World Humanitarian Summit regional consultation for the ‘Europe and Others’ group in Budapest that was co- chaired by the Governments of Hungary and Finland, DG ECHO (European Commission Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection) and OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).
In the spirit of the Summit’s multi-stakeholder approach, the consultation brought together some 250 participants from different fields. The rich discussions in sub-groups around the four themes of the Summit (humanitarian effectiveness, reducing vulnerability and managing risk, transformation through innovation, and serving the needs of people in conflict) led to a series of important conclusions and recommendations
The participants of the Budapest consultations also strongly voiced the need to forge new partnerships among different actors and establish, wherever possible, stronger cooperation mechanisms at the international, national and local levels. Relying on the existing local and cultural knowledge of different actors and enabling different systems and sectors to work together with the shared understanding and commitment to principled humanitarian action, is the key to stepping up more effectively together. We should encourage new and innovative ways of strengthening this cooperation.
In this spirit, Hungary will continue to work together with all partners. We look forward to making the World Humanitarian Summit a success that in a way should also reinforce bonds between civilizations.