Humanitarian Access

Humanitarian Access Overview

Date: 
May 24, 2011

Headlines & Opinion

2014

2013 & 2012

2011

2010

Resources

Reports 

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

Date: 
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.

New Study: Somalia's Remittance Lifeline- Hanging By a Thread

Date: 
February 23, 2015

Adeso, the Global Center on Cooperative Security and Oxfam, released Hanging by a Thread: The Ongoing Threat to Somalia’s Remittance Lifeline, which details how bank account closures impact many Somalians who depend on remittances from friends and family abroad in order to fulfill basic survival needs and invest in small businesses.  Remittances are handled by Money Transfer Operations (MTOs) who rely on banks to transfer the funds to Somalia. 

Due to the poor financial regulation, the presence of terrorist-listed groups in Somalia and a strict regulatory environment, several principle banks have closed their accounts with MTOs that serve Somalia, essentially, curtailing the flow of remittances sent by family members to help Somalians overseas. In response to public pressure and collective campaigns, the U.S. government has taken modest steps to help the Somali remittance system, but it is “startlingly unprepared to manage the potential fallout” of account closures.

This report notes that failure to uphold the remittance system could result in black market and illegal money transfer systems that would increase the lack of accountability for transfer operators. It suggests practical steps that governments and actors within the international community should take to sustain the Somali money transfer system as well as the long-term solutions required to establish viable financial institutions within Somalia. 

Study: Hanging By a Thread- The Ongoing Threat to Somalia's Remittance Lifeline

Date: 
February 23, 2015

On Feb. 19, 2015, Adeso, the Global Center on Cooperative Security and Oxfam, released Hanging by a Thread: The Ongoing Threat to Somalia’s Remittance Lifeline, which details how bank account closures impact many Somalians who depend on remittances,  in order to fulfill basic survival needs and invest in small businesses.  Remittances are handled by Money Transfer Operations (MTOs) who rely on banks to transfer the funds internationally. Due to the poor financial regulation, the presence of terrorist-listed groups in Somalia and a strict regulatory environment, several principle banks have closed their accounts with MTOs that serve Somalia, essentially, curtailing the flow of remittances sent by family members to help Somalians overseas. In response to public pressure and collective campaigns, the U.S. government has taken modest steps to help the Somali remittance system, but it is “startlingly unprepared to manage the potential fallout” of account closures.  In Australia and the United Kingdom the response has also be slow. This report notes that failure to uphold the remittance system could result in black market and illegal money transfer systems that would increase the lack of accountability for transfer operators. It suggests practical steps that governments and actors within the international community should take to sustain the Somali money transfer system as well as the long-term solutions required to establish viable financial institutions within Somalia.  The report is a follow up to the 2013 report Keeping the Lifeline Open: Remittances and Markets in Somalia

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

Date: 
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

Date: 
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

Date: 
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."

Bill Aims to Promote Medical Neutrality, Impose Penalties on Violators

Date: 
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

Date: 
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

Date: 
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.