Humanitarian Access

Humanitarian Access Overview

May 24, 2011

Headlines & Opinion


2013 & 2012





STUDY: Negotiating perceptions: Al-Shabaab and Taliban views of aid agencies

October 3, 2014

The Humanitarian Policy Group's Policy Brief 61 - Negotiating perceptions: Al-Shabaab and Taliban views of aid agencies - interviewed members of the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Shababb in Somalia as well as aid recipeients and workers to learn about the armed groups' perceptions of aid organizations, how that influences access to civilians in need and what needs to be done to improve the situation. 

Report: Counterterrorism Measures Stifle Humanitarian Action, by UN OCHA and the NRC

July 25, 2013

Over the last decade counterterrorism measures (CTMs) like the Patriot Act are having a direct and adverse impact on humanitarian action conducted by aid agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a July 2013 study finds.  Commissioned by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the study, titled Study of the Impact of Donor Counter-Terrorism Measures on Principled Humanitarian Action, examines CTMs in the U.S., European Union and several other countries and determined that they unduly restrict aid programs, increase risks for aid workers, limit funding sources, and undermine partnerships with local NGOs.  International pressure on governments from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to adopt overly-restrictive regulations of NGOs to prevent terrorist financing also draws scrutiny in the study. The release announcement said, "The major conclusion is that the humanitarian community and donor States need to work more closely together to better reconcile counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian action." In September NRC and OCHA will host an event in New York to initiate such discussions.

Groups Urge U.S. to Push for Peaceful Resolution of Israel/Palestine Conflict

August 4, 2014

A number of peacebuilding, humanitarian and advocacy organizations, including the Charity & Security Network, have called on the U.S. government to do more in facilitating peace between Israel and the Palestinian territories. The letter urges that "all [U.S.] policy decisions moving forward be made through an atrocities prevention lens that emphasizes the equal protection of civilians on all sides, focuses on building long-term peace and stability, and avoids actions that are likely to lead to further civilian deaths."

The letter specifically calls for: 1) prioritizing a ceasefire agreement, 2) supporting an investigation into international humanitarian law abuses on both sides, and 3) supporting the end of the blockade of Gaza. According to the letter, "The protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law must be applied universally. When the U.S. fails to advocate for the protection of civilians or support accountability for possible violations of humanitarian law – as it did in voting against the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation of violations of international law on all sides of the conflict – it undermines these core principles."

UN Humanitarian Chief Warns of Chilling Impact Created by Counterterror Measures in Syria

July 3, 2014

UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos criticized counterterrorism laws that create a chilling impact on humanitarian organizations working in places like Syria. In a July 1 BBC 4 radio segment, Amos argued that overboard restrictions in the name of countering terror are exacerbating the crisis. “Our humanitarian response has been slowed down in some areas and stopped altogether, and ultimately, people will die” said Amos.

Bill Aims to Promote Medical Neutrality, Impose Penalties on Violators

May 22, 2014

The Medical Neutrality Act of 2013 (HR 2033)is a bipartisan bill that makes medical neutrality a policy priority of the U.S. by withholding military assistance, including training and arms sales, to any government that restricts access to medical services.

Risk of Relapse in Somalia

May 20, 2014

An Oxfam report warns that Somalia is in a "severe crisis" which, without an influx of aid, may end up becoming even worse in the coming months. The current conditions in Somalia are an improvement over previous years, but remain far from acceptable. 50,000 children are severely malnourished, 1.1 million are displaced and only 30% of the population has access to clean drinking water.

Despite these troubling numbers, only 12% of Somalia's humanitarian funding needs have been met this year, a shortfall of $822 million. Without additional funding soon, there is "a very real risk that people still in need will not be reached and those already helped will fall back into crisis."

New Portal for Humanitarian Negotiation Resources

May 1, 2014
The Humanitarian Negotiations Information Portal collects the latest scholarship and news about humanitarian negotiations. The content is populated by expert practitioners to help share information for the purposes of: (i) ensuring the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection to vulnerable populations; (ii) preserving humanitarian space; and (iii) promoting better respect for international law.
The portal's resource database contains articles, reports and case studies on humanitarian engagement. It also contains analysis from sector experts on emerging trends. Users can also submit their own content to the database.
The portal is hosted by Conflict Dynamics International. More information on their work in humanitarian negotiations can be found here.

Stand #WithSyria: Global Vigil for Syria 2014

March 11, 2014

A global vigil to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in Syria will take place around the world this March. The civil war in Syria has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people and has displaced millions of women, men and children. The vigils seek to shed light on the conflict and spur concerted action from world leaders. On March 13 several iconic buildings around the world will be illuminated to urge the international community to take action.

#WithSyria was created to coordinate the global campaign. The website provides resources including a listing of vigils and events planned, and tools for creating your own vigil. #WithSyria includes a coalition of prominent organizations from around the world seeking 1) an end to the bloodshed in Syria, 2) Unimpeded humanitarian aid to those impacted by the fighting, and 3) A commitment from all side to inclusive peace-talks. 

UN Security Council Votes for Humanitarian Aid across Syria (Fars News)

February 25, 2014
Fars News

From: Fars News Agency, Feb. 23, 2014

The Saturday resolution does not threaten sanctions but it does express the council's intention to take "further steps" if the resolution is not implemented, Al-Alam reported.

The foreign-backed militants hold several areas in the country under siege, leaving tens of thousands of people suffering from lack of food and medicine.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move, but said the resolution "should not have been necessary".