Belgium calls for the protection of humanitarian space in counterterrorism

In recent years, the number of counterterrorism measures has risen sharply to cope with the increased international terror threat. These measures are necessary from a peace and security perspective, but can have undesirable consequences for humanitarian assistance. In the margins of the General Assembly, Belgium and the European Union call for more attention in coordinating the approach to terrorism and humanitarian action.

Conflicts are becoming more complex and less predictable. In some regions, in the absence of political solutions, humanitarian organisations are constantly present. However, their work is often made impossible by counterterrorism measures prohibiting activities in areas controlled by terrorist groups or any contact with those groups. That is how a doctor risks his life when trying to save another.

Unexpected consequences

Today, more than ever, humanitarian action must remain at the top of the international agenda. The side event that Belgium is organizing today in cooperation with the European Union wants to contribute to finding solutions to prevent the unexpected effects of counterterrorism measures on impartial, independent, neutral and humane humanitarian action.

Alexander De Croo: "We must find concrete solutions to guarantee basic humanitarian action and to ensure that anti-terror measures and sanctions are in accordance with the obligations of states under international humanitarian law. Our country wants to play a pioneering role in the Security Council in this regard. The essential fight against terrorism must under no circumstances undermine the rights of the most vulnerable nor international humanitarian law."

Effective humanitarian aid is innovative

Minister De Croo also took part in the event "The Humanitarian Investing Initiative", organized by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank and the ICRC. The emphasis was on finding new forms of financing for humanitarian action, including partnerships with the private sector, to make humanitarian aid more effective.

In addition, the minister met Mark Lowcock, who is responsible for overseeing all humanitarian actions in which the United Nations is involved. In particular, they discussed Belgium's important support to his office as well as the extension of the Security Council resolution on cross-border humanitarian aid in Syria, which will expire on the coming 10th January and which allows millions of people to be helped every day.