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Beyond the Red Cross: the protection of independent humanitarian organizations and their staff in international humanitarian law

31-03-2007 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 865, by Kate Mackintosh

This article examines the international legal protection currently available to independent humanitarian organisations and considers whether there is scope for improvement of both the content of this framework and respect for the same.

   

Kate Mackintosh
is Head of Humanitarian Affairs Department at Médecins sans Frontières (Operational Centre Amsterdam). 

 
Abstract 
Members of independent humanitarian organizations have less protection, legally speaking, than most of them probably think. Two key features of their work – their neutrality and independence – as well as practical steps they take to implement these principles, actually place them outside much of the protection afforded to either civilians or authorized medical staff. This article examines the international legal protection currently available to independent humanitarian organizations, and considers whether there is scope for improvement of both the content of this framework and respect for the same.  

   
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