Code of Conduct
We have a responsibility to protect refugees and to avoid exposing them to further harm as a result of our actions. We also have a duty of care to all our volunteers. We aim to follow the UN’s humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, avoiding harm, accountability, participation and respect. In practice, that means we all need to follow this Code of Conduct:
- Avoid attachment. We are here to be friendly but not their friends or surrogate parents. When you leave, that can be traumatic for them if they have grown to depend on you emotionally. No sitting in tents, no picking up children, no goodbyes.
- Be respectful and courteous. Sometimes things can get emotional but we need to remain professional with each other as well as refugees.
- Treat all refugees equally and according to their needs. You cannot show any favouritism towards individuals.
- Always follow our systems and policies. Some of these may be difficult to enforce but they are the result of long experience.
- Never question an agreed Refugee Support policy in front of the refugees. Public disagreements are unsettling and undermine us all.
- Do not offer legal or medical advice. Our role is humanitarian support and we direct them towards other agencies who have responsibility for asylum and health.
- Do not express your opinions about political developments.Refugees are living with enormous uncertainty and your views will not help.
- Wear our ID and dress appropriately. We need to be identifiable and respect refugees’ values so women must cover shoulders, décolletage and legs to the knee.
- Don’t talk or post about refugees outside of Refugee Support and do not take photos. Confidentiality of refugees must be respected.
- Take breaks. You will return refreshed and make better judgments.
- Monitor your own wellbeing and that of other volunteers. We’re all here to look after each other.
- Raise any concern you have about the welfare of refugees. As a team we will do everything we can to resolve it.
- Do not intervene in any physical violence. Notify the army or police who are trained to deal with this.
- Privately report any abuse or anything you feel uncomfortable about. You can tell any senior member of Refugee Support and they will take action.
- Tell us if you have an idea. We will always listen to new ideas and suggestions.