Robin Coupland

ICRC’s Medical Adviser with respect to the impact of weapons and violence

Robin Coupland was formerly a field surgeon for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He is now the ICRC’s Medical Adviser with respect to the impact of weapons and violence.


  • Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear events: The humanitarian response framework of the International Committee of the Red Cross

    Mounting an effective international humanitarian response to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) event, especially if the response is undertaken on an ad hoc basis, would be extremely difficult and would pose many risks to the responders. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has created a competency-based capacity to respond to at least small-scale CBRN events, including a deployable capability to undertake operational activities. This involves informed assessments of CBRN risks, timely and competent decisions on how to respond, and effectively mobilizing appropriate resources to implement these decisions, through the creation of an emergency roster. In addition to the acquisition of technical expertise and material resources, the creation of such capacity requires the application of central processes, ensuring systematic management of CBRN response (including risk-based decision-making), standing operational procedures, and availability of and access to the necessary resources. Implementation of the ICRC’s CBRN response framework as described in this article should be considered by any agency or other stakeholder preparing for international humanitarian assistance in CBRN events – especially if such events are related to armed conflict.

  • The role of health-related data in promoting the security of health care in armed conflict and other emergencies

    Health-related data provide the basis of policy in many domains. By using a methodology specifically designed to gather data about any form of violence and its impact, violence affecting health-care personnel, health-care facilities, and the wounded and sick in these facilities can be quantified on an objective basis.

  • International assistance for victims of use of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical weapons: time for a reality check?

    At an international level, there are no plans for assisting the victims of a nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical (NRBC) event which are both adequate and safe. This article examines the challenges posed to humanitarian organisations in developing and deploying any capacity to assist victims of an NRBC event, including in terms of the health and security of their personnel bringing this assistance.

  • Who will assist the victims of use of nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical weapons – and how?

    It is uncertain who will assist the victims of use of nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical weapons if an international response is required and how this assistance can be provided without undue risk to those providing it. The use of such weapons presents a variety of risks and the political and security implications are serious and complex. This article shows the difficulties inherent in assisting the victims of use of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical weapons.

Subscribe to the ICRC newsletter