Tag: Syria


Violence against NGOs: The motives

In 2013, 461 aid workers were attacked, setting the recorded as the most violent year against humanitarian staff.  The 1949 Geneva Conventions and related 1977 Protocols I and II provide a legal safeguard to prevent violence against NGOs. Yet as the number of international aid workers has tripled since 2000, the number of attacks against NGO aid workers has also increased.

The question is why, in particular contexts, does violence against NGOs occur? This piece will seek to explain the motives for which non-governmental organisations are targeted in order to better understand the reasons why NGOs, in cases such as the Central African Republic and Syria, have not been able to function to their full potential in response to humanitarian crises.

Obstructing Humanitarian Assistance in Syria: A Weapon of Warfare

The Syrian conflict continues to shake the world. The massive influx of refugees into neighbouring countries, the untold suffering of the Syrian people, and the razing of whole cities are some of the destructive characteristics of this war. The participation of other countries, such as the U.S., Turkey, Iran and Russia, has triggered a debate around whether this armed conflict is of an international or of an internal character. This controversy has complicated the issue regarding the application of the rules of armed conflict as far as obstructing humanitarian assistance is concerned.

The following analysis will be around two major issues: first, whether these unspeakable conditions constitute a weapon of warfare for the Parties or are they just a consequence of the conflict; secondly, whether the UN has the power to intervene and protect the civilians. This discussion will be based on the legal framework regarding the obstruction of humanitarian assistance during armed conflicts and the UN’s position.