Today marks the launch of Humanitarian Law & Policy, a digital forum for those concerned with how to better protect and assist people affected by conflict and violence.

Powered by the International Review of the Red Cross, the blog acts as a bridge between academic research and practical field application, allowing for timely engagement on crucial humanitarian issues.

Echoing the editorial line of the Review, Humanitarian Law & Policy first looks at a contemporary challenge, then seeks solutions in the interplay between international law and the policies that shape humanitarian action.

For 2016, a few key themes include: in terms of challenges, migration and forced displacement, attacks on health care, sexual violence, detention, torture and other forms of ill-treatment; in terms of legal issues, compliance with IHL and the prevention of atrocities in conflict, the protection of civilians and civilian objects, new technologies of warfare; in terms of humanitarian policy, aid architecture and coordination, humanitarian financing and protracted crises, principles guiding humanitarian action.

The launch of Humanitarian Law & Policy coincides with ICRC’s aspiration to further develop its contribution to the global and regional debates on humanitarian law and policy issues. The new platform gathers informed authors and commentators in an open-minded and interactive environment, where innovative ideas may be fleshed out and tested against the expertise of other practitioners, researchers and policymakers.

While striving to convey the distinctiveness of ICRC’s unique mission and frontline experience, the blog welcomes a diversity of voices across regions, from both within and beyond the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It will complement and benefit from regional and thematic ICRC blogs as well as other aid and legal digital platforms.

Join in and add your voice

In Spring 2016 the humanitarian sector has arrived at a critical juncture. The UN’s World Humanitarian Summit, an unprecedented gathering of stakeholders from all walks of the humanitarian community, will be held on 23-24 May in Istanbul. While the Summit might be a significant opportunity to galvanize the global community in addressing human suffering of unprecedented proportions, it also presents a risk of obscuring the distinct and vital role of humanitarian action by wrapping it into the Sustainable Development Goals.

Taking a step back from more formal institutional fora, this blog is meant as an experimental space which does not bind the institutions to which the authors belong. It is a place to think of how to better ensure respect for the lives and dignity of people living through armed conflict and other situations of violence.

We warmly encourage you to join the debate through the Comments section of blog posts, as well as on social media and other channels. If you are thinking about submitting a meaningful contribution to the blog, get in touch!

 

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Vincent Bernard is the editor-in-chief of the International Review of the Red Cross and the head of ICRC’s Law & Policy Forum.

Raphaël Dallaire Ferland is the editor of Humanitarian Law & Policy.