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Humanitarian assistance webcast 4: NGOs' rights and responsibilities for humanitarian access

Time (GMT +00) 14:30 16:00

Moderated by:
Christina Blunt - Project Coordinator, Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research  (HPCR)
Dustin Lewis - HPCR

Ashley Jackson
- Research Fwllow, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute
Dr Heike Spieker - National Relief Division, German Red Cross


In recent years, humanitarian organisations have seen a rise in constraints on their access to vulnerable populations in times of conflict or internal disturbance. While international law provides important bases for humanitarian NGOs to obtain access to populations in need, it also imposes clear responsibilities on humanitarian organisations in terms of the maintenance of a neutral, independent and impartial approach to such situations. States remain primarily responsible for the provision of emergency assistance to their populations. However, in countries such as Pakistan or the Sudan governments are engaged in counter-insurgency campaigns and may use humanitarian access as a political tool. How then should organisations respond to these legal and policy constraints? The humanitarian and human rights communities argue that a customary norm is emerging recognising the right of an affected population to receive life-saving assistance, and by extension, the right of humanitarian organisations to provide such assistance in times of emergency