- Armed conflict
This chapter addresses humanitarian relief in situations of armed conflict. In many modern wars, more civilian deaths and suffering occur as a result of humanitarian crises prompted or exacerbated by the conflicts than from actual hostilities. International humanitarian law (IHL) includes an important body of rules aimed at ensuring that the basic needs of civilians caught up in conflict are met. While these protections can be considered as a manifestation of the ‘freedom from want’ dimension of human security, it is essential to bear in mind that the relevant rules of IHL are well established, binding on States and, in case of non-international armed conflict, also organized armed groups. The chapter outlines the rules of IHL regulating collective humanitarian relief operations, with a particular focus on how they balance the dictates of belligerents’ security interests and civilians’ ‘human security’ needs and entitlements. It then considers one particular way in which a pressing national and international security objective—countering terrorism—interacts with and adversely impacts the capacity of humanitarian actors to operate in a principled manner, and thus impairs the human security of populations in need.
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