2. Humanitarian ''Assistance'' in the Context of Enforcement Measures
The second situation where the term "humanitarian assistance" is
quite often used, is a situation as referred to under III.1.- III.3. This is a
relatively new use of the term "assistance" and it may be useful to enumerate
the various manifestations of "humanitarian assistance" as they appeared in the
Security Council's practice since the adoption of SC Res. 688.
For practical reasons this overview will be limited to the
resolutions mentioned above.
The concept of "humanitarian assistance" appeared in various
manifestations; some of the resolutions mentioned the concept of "humanitarian
assistance" without further qualifications (SC Res. 767, SC Res. 794, SC Res.
819, SC Res. 836), others referred to "humanitarian relief assistance" or
"humanitarian relief operations/activities", (SC Res. 794, SC Res. 814), or
simply to the "delivery of humanitarian relief" (SC Res. 836) and "assistance"
(SC Res. 688). In some resolutions not adopted under Chapter VII the element of
"co-operation" between the State (SC Res. 688; Iraq) and with the United
Nations, or with the various parties and factions on the one hand and the United
Nations, its specialized agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations and the ICRC on the other, was stressed (SC Res. 767).
With regard to the manifestations of "humanitarian assistance" -
the rather consistent used generic term by the Security Council -, various
"types" of assistance may be distinguished.
In some resolutions the problems relating to "access" or
obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian assistance were dealt with, like,
inter alia in SC Res. 688 ("access to all those in need',), SC Res. 824 (access
to "safe areas'') and SC Res. 836 ("obstruction " to the delivery of
Other resolutions demanded the need for an urgent delivery of
the humanitarian assistance to the civilian population (SC Res. 767) and
indicated that impediments to such activities, in particular the delivery of
food and medical supplies, would not be tolerated and are a violation of
international humanitarian law (SC Res. 794, SC Res. 819).
The safety of the personnel engaged in the delivery of such
humanitarian assistance (both UN personnel, intergovernmental and
non-governmental as well as ICRC personnel) and the ensuing obligation to "take
all measures necessary byby the target State and/or parties, was repeatedly
stressed by the Security Council (SC Res. 794, SC Res. 814, SC Res. 819, SC Res.
824). SC Res. 836 indicated that this extended to so-called 'protected convoys".
Three resolutions contained language indicating that the
humanitarian "assistance" also extended to operations relating to the protection
and repatriation of refugees and resettlement of displaced persons (SC Res. 688,
SC Res. 929, SC Res. 814), whereas another three resolutions were devoted to the
creation of "safe areas" (SC Res. 819, SC Res. 824, SC Res. 836) in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. It was demanded that those areas be given full respect by the
warring parties, whereas the areas would be protected by UNPROFOR "with the
agreement of the Governments contributing forces" (SC Res. 836).
It follows from this enumeration that the scope and limits of
the concept of humanitarian assistance have not been fully defined. Under the
rather recent enforcement measures of the Security Council various
manifestations of humanitarian assistance have appeared; sometimes already
existing under international humanitarian law, sometimes hitherto unknown in
The concept of humanitarian assistance is still developing and
it may still be too soon to draw firm conclusions about possible new
manifestations of "assistance". It is, however, beyond any doubt that the
concept offers promising prospects for the