Tomorrow (1 March), the Federal Foreign Office – in conjunction with Caritas international, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe and the German Red Cross – is holding the 9th Forum on Global Issues Compact on “The humanitarian dilemma – the neutrality of humanitarian assistance in conflicts”.
The lead-in presentation will be given by Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, while the closing speech will be delivered by Rudolf Seiters, former Federal Minister and now President of the German Red Cross. Emily Haber, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, will open the event.
The credibility and acceptance, and thus the access to and safety of humanitarian assistance hinge on adherence to the humanitarian principles of compassion, neutrality, independence and impartiality. That applies most especially in conflict situations. The dramatic humanitarian situation in Syria at present illustrates most worryingly what happens when state actors hamper access to assistance and disregard the fundamental rules of international humanitarian law: it makes it either impossible or difficult to save lives and put in place survival measures, while the safety of aid personnel is disregarded or deliberately jeopardized. To what extent and under which circumstances international humanitarian assistance can remain neutral in such conflict situations and still reach those in need, is one of the questions which the Forum on Global Issues wants to discuss with players and experts, inter alia from the world of politics and civil society, from the military, the Bundestag and academia.
Launched by the Federal Foreign Office in 1999, the Forum deals with a broad spectrum of global challenges and brings together state and non-state actors in international politics in Germany to exchange views.