From Haiti to Mali, Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, Yemen, Ethiopia and Karabakh, humanitarian space seems to have shrunk a little more every day in 2023. Millions of people around the world have been subjected to unbridled armed violence, too often in defiance of the most basic rules of international humanitarian law (IHL).
Victims of conflict lose access to food, water and shelter, and see the destruction of their schools and hospitals. Additionally, they face a flood of malicious information on social networks and in the media. In this type of so-called hybrid war, the aim is to demonize the adversary. It’s about stripping them of their humanity, and – ultimately – an attempt to deny them their right to live.
Humanitarian organizations have also been the target of both physical and virtual attacks. Our commitment to the principle of neutrality, which helps us reach more of the most vulnerable people regardless of which side they are on, has been decried by those who demand that we take sides.
We exist to assist all victims of conflict, and we carry forward with that mission.
As President Mirjana Splojaric put it, “the ICRC asserts its clear determination to stand up for people during wartime – whether civilians or combatants – to ensure that their rights and protections under IHL are upheld”.
We worked to bring vital help where it was most needed, so that life could resume and smiles return. Our commitment will not waver in 2024.
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