Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project and the Potential to Cripple Humanitarian Assistance in Armed Conflict
25 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2011
Date Written: June 1, 2011
Contemporary events are replete with examples where security concerns – whether national or human – require immediate action. Legal and policy developments in the areas of counterterrorism and humanitarianism suggest a growing incompatibility, particularly in regards to humanitarian operations during armed conflict. The rules formulated to regulate armed conflict, including the delivery of humanitarian assistance, are predicated on a balancing of military necessity and humanitarian considerations. Likewise, counterterrorism regulations evidence a weighing of national security interests and individual rights and freedoms. The delivery of humanitarian assistance during armed conflict plays a crucial role in alleviating human suffering during armed conflict. Current counterterrorism policies, however, threaten to restrict or severely hinder the ability of U.N. agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and international and local NGOs to provide such assistance. Though certainly not the only state with such regulations, the United States’ materials support statute risks severely impeding the ability of humanitarian actors to operate during armed conflict, resulting in serious deleterious effects on the civilian population in conflict.
Keywords: humanitarian assistance, material support, humanitarian law, counterterrorism, holder v. humanitarian law project
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