Chatham House Webinar: International Humanitarian Law Amid Coronvirus

In April 2020, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire in order for communities and states to focus efforts on responding to the coronavirus outbreak. However, in many regions affected by conflict, belligerent activity has continued to impede access to essential goods and services, exacerbating the suffering already experienced by civilians.

These include the sieges and severe limitations on humanitarian action in Syria, the maritime restrictions in Yemen and the blockade of Gaza. Counter-terrorism measures taken by states against groups such as Al Qaeda affiliates, Hamas or Hezbollah, compounded by measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, make the delivery of life-saving assistance even more challenging.

Against the backdrop of a growing health and economic emergency, the panelists reflect on the state of humanitarian action and its relationship with international humanitarian law. What are the challenges to delivering relief? And how has COVID-19 impacted humanitarian action in conflict-ridden areas?

Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, hosted the Webinar on 15 May 2020.

  • Itay Epshtain, Senior Humanitarian Law and Policy Consultant, Humanitarian Policy
  • Emanuela-Chiara Gillard, Associate Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House
  • Chair: Chanu Peiris, Programme Manager, International Law Programme, Chatham House