Washington: InterAction condemns the alleged staging of an immunization campaign in Pakistan by the U.S. government in order to gather information for counterterrorism purposes. InterAction and its members affirm their commitment to independent, impartial humanitarian action and objects to any attempt – whether by a foreign government or local authorities – to co-opt humanitarian work for any purpose other than to provide life-saving assistance to people in need.
Such action, either by the U.S. or another government, has the undesired effect of deterring those most in need from getting life-saving immunizations and other health care. InterAction calls on all actors involved in the provision of assistance to adhere to the principles of independent, impartial humanitarian work.
“Any misguided effort to use humanitarian work as a cover for counter-terrorism must cease immediately. Such unethical behaviour endangers not only local populations but also the lives of legitimate humanitarian workers,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.
InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs, with nearly 200 members, many of whom work in Pakistan.
The use of such irresponsible tactics violates international humanitarian principles. It also undermines humanitarian and public health efforts and puts the safety of humanitarian workers and their beneficiaries at risk.
“Accessing populations in need and delivering vital services in emergency areas can only work when there is trust and goodwill between aid workers and the communities they serve,” said Worthington.
InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life.