The Humanitarian Charter provides the ethical and legal backdrop to the Protection Principles and the Core and minimum standards that follow in the Handbook. It is in part a statement of established legal rights and obligations; in part a statement of shared belief.
In terms of legal rights and obligations, it summarises the core legal principles that have most bearing on the welfare of those affected by disaster or conflict. With regard to shared belief, it attempts to capture a consensus among humanitarian agencies as to the principles which should govern the response to disaster or conflict, including the roles and responsibilities of the various actors involved.
It forms the basis of a commitment by humanitarian agencies that endorse Sphere and an invitation to all those who engage in humanitarian action to adopt the same principles.