PHAP Online Learning Series on Humanitarian Law and Policy – Legal foundations for humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict
International humanitarian law (IHL) establishes a number of provisions designed to enhance protections for civilians in armed conflict. The provision of humanitarian assistance, and securing the requisite humanitarian access to do so, are critical to addressing the suffering of the civilian population. IHL provides a legal basis for humanitarian actors to engage with parties to the conflict. It presents a common set of concepts, principles, and terminology that can inform negotiations as well as policy and operational decisions. Understanding what IHL says – and does not say – in terms of humanitarian access is critical for humanitarians. This event introduced the concept of humanitarian access and highlight the relevant IHL terminology and rules and presented some of the key challenges to this concept.
Recording (Adobe Connect - higher quality)
Recording (YouTube - faster loading time)
Session recording (downloadable audio podcast)
- Familiarity with the relevant IHL principles and rules regulating humanitarian access.
- Understanding of the main legal questions for a practitioner to consider when assessing issues related to access.
- Knowledge of the different stakeholders involved in humanitarian access and a familiarity with the different rights and obligations under IHL.
- Awareness of the key debates and challenges found within the legal framework of access, including the issue of state consent.
For those who would like to prepare for the session, we recommend the following resources:
- Marco Sassòli (November 2013), "When are states and armed groups obliged to accept humanitarian assistance?", PHAP member article
- Julia Brooks (July 2015), "Is There a Right to Humanitarian Assistance?", ATHA
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), "Q&A and lexicon on humanitarian access"
For further reading, we recommend the following resource:
- Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (December 2014), Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflict - Handbook on the International Normative Framework, Version 2
PHAP members will have the possibility to undergo a two-part assessment after the session as part of the PHAP Continuous Learning Credits framework.
To encourage peer learning among members, selected essay responses will also be published on the website, if approved by the writer. As a member, you can comment on the responses and read other members' comments.
Consulting Expert on International Humanitarian Law, International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)
Executive Director, International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)
PHAP Credentialing Program
International Legal Frameworks for Humanitarian Action
In particular, the event will address segment 3.7 of the certification assessment outline.