United Nations

A/RES/43/131


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

8 December 1988

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                       A/RES/43/131
                                                       75th plenary meeting
                                                       8 December 1988
 
        Humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters
                    and similar emergency situations
 
      The General Assembly,
 
      Recalling that one of the purposes of the United Nations is to achieve
 international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic,
 social, cultural or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging
 respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction
 as to race, sex, language, or religion,
 
      Reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of
 States, and recognizing that it is up to each State first and foremost to take
 care of the victims of natural disasters and similar emergency situations
 occurring on its territory,
 
      Deeply concerned about the suffering of the victims of natural disasters
 and similar emergency situations, the loss in human lives, the destruction of
 property and the mass displacement of populations that result from them,
 
      Bearing in mind that natural disasters and similar emergency situations
 have grave consequences for the economic and social plans of all countries
 concerned,
 
      Desiring that the international community should respond speedily and
 effectively to appeals for emergency humanitarian assistance made in
 particular through the Secretary-General,
 
      Mindful of the importance of humanitarian assistance for the victims of
 natural disasters and similar emergency situations,
 
      Recognizing that the international community makes an important
 contribution to the sustenance and protection of such victims, whose health
 and life may be seriously endangered,
 
      Considering that the abandonment of the victims of natural disasters and
 similar emergency situations without humanitarian assistance constitutes a
 threat to human life and an offence to human dignity,
 
      Concerned about the difficulties that victims of natural disasters and
 similar emergency situations may experience in receiving humanitarian
 assistance,
 
      Convinced that, in providing humanitarian assistance, in particular the
 supply of food, medicines or health care, for which access to victims is
 essential, rapid relief will avoid a tragic increase in their number,
 
      Aware that alongside the action of Governments and intergovernmental
 organizations, the speed and efficiency of this assistance often depends on
 the help and aid of local and non-governmental organizations working with
 strictly humanitarian motives,
 
      Recalling that, in the event of natural disasters and similar emergency
 situations, the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality must be
 given utmost consideration by all those involved in providing humanitarian
 assistance,
 
      1.   Reaffirms the importance of humanitarian assistance for the victims
 of natural disasters and similar emergency situations;
 
      2.   Reaffirms also the sovereignty of affected States and their primary
 role in the initiation, organization, co-ordination and implementation of
 humanitarian assistance within their respective territories;
 
      3.   Stresses the important contribution made in providing humanitarian
 assistance by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations working
 with strictly humanitarian motives;
 
      4.   Invites all States in need of such assistance to facilitate the work
 of these organizations in implementing humanitarian assistance, in particular
 the supply of food, medicines and health care, for which access to victims is
 essential;
 
      5.   Appeals, therefore, to all States to give their support to these
 organizations working to provide humanitarian assistance, where needed, to the
 victims of natural disasters and similar emergency situations;
 
      6.   Urges States in proximity to areas of natural disasters and similar
 emergency situations, particularly in the case of regions that are difficult
 to reach, to participate closely with the affected countries in international
 efforts with a view to facilitating, to the extent possible, the transit of
 humanitarian assistance;
 
      7.   Calls upon all the intergovernmental, governmental and
 non-governmental organizations dealing with humanitarian assistance to
 co-operate as closely as possible with the Office of the United Nations
 Disaster Relief Co-ordinator or any other ad hoc mechanism set up by the
 Secretary-General in the co-ordination of aid;
 
      8.   Requests the Secretary-General to seek the views of Governments,
 intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations with regard
 to the possibility of enhancing the effectiveness of international mechanisms
 and increasing the speed of assistance in the best possible conditions for the
 victims of natural disasters and similar emergency situations, where needed,
 and to report his findings to the General Assembly at its forty-fifth session;
 
      9.   Decides to consider this question at its forty-fifth session.