As Syria enters its eighth year of conflict and Yemen its fourth, two common themes in these conflicts appear - food insecurity is being weaponized and aid organisations are being stopped from getting to people who need help.
Human Appeal are a politically neutral organisation – we are fully committed to the humanitarian principles of impartiality. We help those most in need, and do not discriminate on any basis. However, we believe that aid in conflict zones is becoming a tool of politics and tension.
NGOs have to be impartial dealing with rising hunger in conflict zones. However, military actors also must respect that impartiality. All parties to a conflict must recognize and co-operate with NGOs to enable aid is delivered to the civilian population that needs it. Systems and processes have to be established to ensure all military actors can be assured aid workers are impartial and that aid workers can be assured that no military actor will target them or hinder their attempts to deliver emergency aid.
Ahmed Kehail, Human Appeal’s Humanitarian Coordinator, explains:
"If aid was depoliticized and was allowed into all areas, this would mean we could direct all our capacity and focus on our humanitarian and development work, without worrying about the safety and security of our staff. It also means we can work according to our work plans without delays and to achieve all projects objectives. Moreover, it will mean reaching all targeted areas and increase the number of beneficiaries.” Sieges and blockades often cause or lead to starvation and therefore malnutrition. Emergency aid must be allowed to safely enter and be distributed in conflict affected areas to help prevent people becoming further victims to food insecurity and malnutrition. However, the argument could be made that, for some military actors, starvation in areas they are besieging is an intended consequence of their actions in order to advance their goal of a military victim."
In October 2017, Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food said:
"it is crucial that the international community understands that it is an international crime to intentionally block access to food, food aid, and to destroy production of food."