Humanitarian Access

Humanitarian Access Overview

May 24, 2011

Headlines & Opinion


2013 & 2012





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".

Section by Section Summary: Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act

January 27, 2014

HR 3526

The Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act of 2013

Section by Section Summary


To permit humanitarian assistance to civilian populations in areas of conflict or disaster when carried out in good faith and with certain safeguards.

Section 1. Short Title

The Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act of 2012.

Aiding Syria

January 21, 2014

In the days leading up to the Syrian peace conference taking place in Switzerland, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reported that the government permitted humanitarian supplies to reach nearly 10,000 people living in the suburbs of Damascus.  While that is welcome news, other reports out of Syria indicate that aid is being used by both sides of the conflict to reward its allies and punish the other side. “The message from the regime is clear,” says one humanitarian who runs programs in Damascus. “‘If you are with us, we will assist you; if you aren’t, we will besiege you and starve you.’”

As world leaders gather to discuss the fate of millions of Syrians under siege, aid groups call on both sides to allow unfettered access to reach civilians in need.  “The very least that these different fighters can provide is a pause to allow the humanitarians to get in and provide that emergency relief,” WFP’s Syria Country Director Matthew Hollingworth said.

Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act Assigned to House Judiciary Subcommittee

January 23, 2014

The Humanitarian Assistance Facilitation Act (HR 3526), which was filed in November 2013, was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee's subcommitee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations on Jan. 9, 2014. The bill removes legal restrictions on nonprofit organizations seeking to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in areas where terrorist groups operate and on peacebuilding groups working to end armed conflict.