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Violations of international humanitarian law need universal political action

10 May 2016

International Development Committee report identifies the key points which should take priority if the World's first Humanitarian Summit is to make real progress.

The Summit will take place in Istanbul at the end of May 2016. It is hoped the event will trigger much needed reforms in the global humanitarian system. The Committee identifies six areas for reform which should be at the core of the UK Government's approach to the Summit.

First and foremost is the upholding of international humanitarian law:

  • Beginning a process of universal political action to address violations of international humanitarian law
  • A better understanding of resilience: how it should be defined and implemented by world partners
  • Making the system truly global to ensure an inclusive system which recognises the needs of the most vulnerable
  • Institutional and funding reforms to achieve better cohesion between humanitarian and development assistance
  • Greater emphasis on preventing and resolving crises, from early warning systems to comprehensive analysis of political risks in fragile states
  • Addressing unintended consequences of counter-terrorism legislation and humanitarian responses.

Chair's comments

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"A great deal of preparation and consultation has gone into this summit, the first of its kind. There is recognition that the players involved need to get better at meeting the needs of people affected by conflict and disaster. But there is a distinct lack of agreement on what the priorities should be.

The six priorities we have listed in our report cover issues in current humanitarian crises. We know from our inquiry into the crisis in Yemen that the upholding of international humanitarian law is essential to delivering aid. Using their presence at this Summit, we urge the UK Government to press all actors on the global stage to bolster international humanitarian law.

In a world where the lives of millions of people are devastated by wars and disasters, the global community is struggling to cope with demands on funds and support. There is a real urgency to develop a new approach to address current and future humanitarian needs more effectively."

Further information

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