And this is happening against a worrying backdrop of misinformation, disinformation, hate speech and increasingly fierce power competition, fuelling tensions with potential to spark further conflict and violence. Conflict will continue to expand more into the digital and even outer space – with cyber-attacks on the rise, making critical civilian infrastructure and services even more vulnerable.
So, overall, the ICRC has seen a vastly changed humanitarian landscape in its time. But some things have remained constant.
The relevance of international humanitarian law (IHL) and with it, the role of principled humanitarian action, may often be misunderstood and maligned today. « You are either with us, or against us » is a common refrain. Yet IHL and the fundamental principles are the bedrock of our humanitarian action and we firmly believe they are more important than ever in today’s turbulent global landscape.
While the ICRC is not focused on peace-building or peace-making as such, the way we work engaging in dialogue with all parties to conflict can help build trust and confidence, and ultimately create opportunities for peace. The services and systems we support and strengthen over years systems of protection, water, health, food security, detention and family links may also be valuable resources in this regard.Maintaining infrastructure and social systems with national and opposition authorities effectively prioritizes respect for law, rights and responsibility.