Humanitarian Aid: Armed Conflict

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 22nd September 2022.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what information his Department holds on prohibitions that exist in (a) international humanitarian law and (b) other international laws and conventions against deliberate restrictions on humanitarian access during civil conflict.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)

International humanitarian law contains rules regarding the provision of humanitarian relief and assistance to civilians in situations of 'armed conflict'. For example, parts of the Geneva Convention requires relevant parties (subject to conditions) to allow and facilitate the delivery of medical and hospital supplies, as well as other supplies that are essential to the survival of civilians, such as food and clothing. Relief consignments should not be diverted nor delayed, except in some defined circumstances. Humanitarian relief personnel may, where necessary, accompany relief consignments, subject to the approval of the party in whose territory they will carry out their duties.

Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission, may, in certain circumstances, fall within the definition of a war crime under the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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