Safety and Security of Humanitarian Personnel

Katie Kelly, Protection of Civilians Desk Officer, katie.kelly@fco.gov.uk


UNSCR 2286 which was co-sponsored in 2016 by the UK demanded that all parties to armed conflict comply with IHL and facilitate safe and unimpeded passage for medical and humanitarian personnel.

We recognise that civilian populations in need are entitled to receive humanitarian relief.  We support our partners to work according to the humanitarian principles so that they can safely access those in need regardless of any political or other discriminating factors.  Maintaining this humanitarian space is particularly important in situations of armed conflict.

Wherever appropriate, the UK lobbies strongly for unrestricted humanitarian access, and holds countries to their commitments and obligations under IHL in this regard.  At the 32nd international conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, the UK joined other states in pledging to explore ways to improve our contribution to the safety and security of principled humanitarian action and of humanitarian workers, including through supporting and incentivising good practice in terms of operational security management within the humanitarian organisations that we support.  We also pledged to support measures to improve awareness of and respect for the rules protecting the provision of health care, and to support states and non-state actors implementing context-specific measures to enhance the physical safety of health care personnel and infrastructure.

The UK provides significant financial support to humanitarian agencies with an international protection mandate, based on their results.  We encourage these agencies to implement their protection mandates to the fullest extent.