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Order of Malta Australia


World Humanitarian Day: Tackling the causes of suffering as well as the symptoms


Without political solutions humanitarian aid leads nowhere

Malteser International is using World Humanitarian Day on August 19 to draw attention to the need for humanitarian aid to be coupled with action to tackle the root causes of crises and conflicts. “Humanitarian action is at a record level. From its original function as an emergency intervention, it has become part of the normal state of affairs in some parts of the world. If nothing is done to remove the causes of conflict, there is a real danger that this pattern could become an endless cycle,” said Sid Johann Peruvemba, Vice Secretary General of Malteser International. “Humanitarian aid relieves suffering. But in the worst-case scenario, this means it can also be perceived as relieving some of the pressure for political action to end the causes of that suffering. Even though politically everything may be at a standstill, humanitarian aid can still be relied on to temper the worst excesses of a crisis.”

Most conflicts have their roots in social inequality and poor government by corrupt and power-hungry elites. It is therefore essential that as well as providing neutral and impartial aid, humanitarian organizations keep the importance of encouraging social justice high up on their agenda. “We need both humanitarian aid that relieves suffering for people in need as well as development policy that works against inequality and promotes good government,” said Peruvemba. “Strengthening civil society and local actors is one of the most important components of good and future focused aid,” said Peruvemba. “This is one of the foundations of civil crisis prevention, which is an important instrument for avoiding conflicts.” Sensitive planning of aid measures in conflict situations is essential to help prevent them from having unintended negative consequences.

In the first six months of 2016, Malteser International provided emergency relief for more than 82,000 people – providing them with food, hygiene articles, clothing or blankets; and provided emergency shelters for thousands of refugees and displaced people, as well as those affected by natural disasters. In the same period, Malteser International was able to give around 85,000 people access to clean drinking water.

World Humanitarian Day on August 19 commemorates humanitarian aid workers that risk their lives professionally or as volunteers in order to help others.

The Australian Association

The Australian Association, formed in 1974, currently has in excess of 300 members and aspirant members across every State and Territory of Australia. We also have ongoing and strong links with the Order’s National Associations throughout the Asia Pacific Region including in Singapore and the Philippines and with members of the Order in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand and Korea. The Order of Malta is committed to serving Our Lords the Poor and Sick worldwide and has done so for over 900 years. This website shares with you the history, mission and current activities of the Order of Malta in Australia, and provides links to the work of the Order world-wide.