The two men discussed the threat of humanitarian disaster in the Syrian city of Idlib, the rise in attacks on humanitarian aid workers, the difficulties facing many aid workers in accessing emergency situations, and the possibility of stepping up cooperation.
During the visit to Berlin of Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 13 September, Foreign Minister Maas said:
Humanitarian assistance is an expression of solidarity and humanity and therefore a central pillar of German foreign policy.
How does Germany cooperate with the ICRC?
The ICRC is a key partner for Germany in humanitarian assistance and in issues relating to international humanitarian law. The organisation adheres strictly toFundamental principles of humanitarian aid and is impartial in political conflicts. As a result, its aid workers often enjoy good access even in places and situations where other humanitarian organisations are kept out.
One growing problem for many humanitarian aid workers is that they themselves are becoming the target of attacks. On this subject, Foreign Minister Maas said:
The aid needs to get to the people. It is unbelievable that humanitarian aid workers and medical facilities are increasingly being attacked. This is a blatant breach of hard-won international humanitarian law! We cannot stand idly by and watch a return to barbarism. That is why protecting aid workers and humanitarian access will be a central focus of our membership of the UN Security Council.
In 2017 Germany was the third-largest donor to the ICRC. The many humanitarian emergencies around the world and the continuing attacks on aid workers and humanitarian installations make continual dialogue and our close cooperation with the ICRC indispensable. So Germany will again support the ICRC in 2018, contributing approx. 150 million euros.