The following MERCY Malaysia Code of Conduct is the basis of our Humanitarian Accountability Framework in which all our stakeholders – staff, volunteers, partners and partner organisations and donors – subscribe and adhere to when they are representing MERCY Malaysia in one form or another.
- Code of Conduct for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
- Principles of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP)
- The SPHERE Standards in Humanitarian Aid
- UN Secretary General Bulletin on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13)
- Principles of Partnership (endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform, 12 July 2007)
- Financial Accountability and Transparency
- Confidentiality and Privacy
The Code of Conduct will be included in all official documentation including but not limited to – collaterals, manuals, agreements as well as Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and Letters of understanding (LoUs) in the course of their involvement and relationship with MERCY Malaysia in providing humanitarian services.
1. Code of Conduct for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
As signatory to the above Code of Conduct, MERCY Malaysia Staff and Volunteers must abide to the 10 Principles of the Code of Conduct which are:
- The humanitarian imperative comes first.
- Aid is given regardless of the race, creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind. Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone.
- Aid will not be used to further a political or religious standpoint.
- We shall endeavour not to act as instruments of government foreign policy.
- We shall respect culture and custom.
- We shall attempt to build disaster response on local capacities.
- Ways shall be found to involve beneficiaries in the management of relief aid.
- We hold ourselves accountable to both those we seek to assist and those from whom we accept resources.
- Relief aid must strive to reduce future vulnerabilities as well as meet basic needs.
- In our information, publicity and advertising activities, we shall recognise disaster victims (survivors) as dignified humans and not hopeless objects.
2. Principles of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP)
As a Member of HAP, MERCY Malaysia subscribes to the HAP Accountability Principles:
- Commitment to humanitarian standards and rights
- Members state their commitment to respect and foster humanitarian standards and the rights of Beneficiaries.
- Setting standards and building capacity.
- Members set a framework of accountability to their stakeholders.
- Members set and periodically review their standards and performance indicators, and revise them if necessary.
- Members inform, and consult with, stakeholders, particularly beneficiaries and staff, about the standards adopted, programmes to be undertaken and mechanisms available for addressing concerns.
- Participation in programmes
- Members involve beneficiaries in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and report to them on progress, subject only to serious operational constraints.
- Monitoring and reporting on compliances
- Members involve beneficiaries and staff when they monitor and revise standards.
- Members regularly monitor and evaluate compliance with standards, using robust processes.
- Members report at least annually to stakeholders, including beneficiaries on compliance with standards. Reporting may take a variety of forms.
- Addressing complaints
- Members enable beneficiaries and staff to report complaints and seek redress safely.
- Implementing partners
- Members are committed to the implementation of these principles if and when working through implementation partners.
3. The SPHERE Standards in Humanitarian Aid
By applying and complying to the Minimum Standards recommended by the Sphere Project, MERCY Malaysia’s humanitarian response seeks to align and streamline its provision of services and aid to the common standards, as prescribed below:
- Ensuring participation
- Initial assessment
- Aid worker competencies and responsibilities
- Supervision, management and support of personnel
4. UN Secretary General Bulletin on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13)
For the purpose of definition;
Sexual exploitation means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes, including but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
Sexual abuse means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
The Bulletin states the prohibition of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Section 3 of the Bulletin is used in the MERCY Malaysia Code of Conduct and is applicable to all MERCY Malaysia staff and volunteers.
The prohibition includes:
- Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse constitute acts of serious misconduct and are therefore grounds for disciplinary measures, including summary dismissals
- Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief in the age of the child is not a defence
- Exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited. This includes the exchange of assistance that is due to beneficiaries
- MERCY Malaysia does not allow sexual relationships between workers and beneficiaries since they are based on inherently unequal power dynamics. Such relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of humanitarian aid work
- Where a staff or volunteer develop concerns or suspicions regarding sexual abuse or exploitation by a fellow staff or volunteer, s/he must report such concerns via the reporting mechanisms
- All staff and volunteers are obliged to create and maintain an environment which prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of this code of conduct. The prohibitions set out above are not intended to be an exhaustive list. Other forms of sexually exploitative or sexually abusive behaviour may be grounds for administrative action or disciplinary measures including summary dismissal. Volunteers in violation of the above will be dismissed and removed from the MERCY Malaysia volunteer database.
5. Principles of Partnership (as endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform, 12 July 2007)
MERCY Malaysia recognises the advantages of working with the right partners and that its integrity extends to the partners; also meeting the highest standards of accountability and transparency.
In striving to enhance the effectiveness of working with partners and to maximise complementarity due to the different mandates and mission statements of partners, MERCY Malaysia will base the partnership on the following:
Equality requires mutual respect between members of the partnership irrespective of size and power. The participants must respect each other’s mandates, obligations and independence and recognize each other’s constraints and commitments. Mutual respect must not preclude organizations from engaging in constructive dissent.
Transparency is achieved through dialogue (on equal footing), with an emphasis on early consultations and early sharing of information. Communications and transparency, including financial transparency, increase the level of trust among organisations.
- Results-oriented approach
Effective humanitarian action must be reality-based and action-oriented. This requires result-oriented coordination based on effective capabilities and concrete operational capacities.
Humanitarian organizations have an ethical obligation to each other to accomplish their tasks responsibly, with integrity and in a relevant and appropriate way. They must make sure they commit to activities only when they have the means, competencies, skills, and capacity to deliver on their commitments. Decisive and robust prevention of abuse committed by humanitarians must also be a constant effort.
The diversity of the humanitarian community is an asset if we build on our comparative advantages and complement each other’s contributions. Local capacity is one of the main assets to enhance and on which to build. Whenever possible, humanitarian organizations should strive to make it an integral part in emergency response. Language and cultural barriers must be overcome.
6. Financial Accountability and Transparency
Accountability and transparency are the core principles of the organisation. All staff and volunteers must abide by our accountability procedures and processes, which include adherence to the Treasury and Financial Policies.
MERCY Malaysia is responsible to its stakeholders, which include beneficiaries, donors, staff, volunteers, partners, governments, local authorities, other organizations and the general public who have placed faith in MERCY Malaysia.
To uphold this trust we:
- Promote good stewardship of resources, dues and other contributions that are used to pay operating expenses, programme costs, salaries, and employee benefits, and administration.
- Ensure that travel, entertainment and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of MERCY Malaysia and not for personal gain or interests.
- Refrain from using organisational resources for non-MERCY Malaysia purposes.
- Observe and comply with all laws and regulations affecting MERCY Malaysia and the country where we are operating (wherever possible).
7. Confidentiality and Privacy
Confidentiality is the hallmark of professionalism. We therefore:
- Ensure that all information which is confidential, privileged or nonpublic, is not disclosed inappropriately.
- Respect the privacy rights of all individuals in the performance of their duties.
- Committed to maintain the confidentiality of complainants and non-retaliation of complainants and non-retaliation against complainants and to provide an environment where our stakeholders are able to report complaints and seek redress safely.
- For more details, please view our Information Policy.