The Issue

Resources on Emergencies


The Challenges

© UNICEF/SWZK00054/Pirozzi
A displaced family in Sabirabad, Azerbaijan.

The changing nature of warfare:

Once fought on battlefields between armies, today’s conflicts are played out in ordinary communities. They are characterized by the targeting of civilians along ethnic or religious lines and by widespread human rights abuses, such as the use of rape to demoralise and de-humanise the ‘enemy’.


Restricted access and targeting of aid workers:

Access is sometimes restricted or denied as a political bargaining chip and a means of inflicting suffering on civilians. The targeting of aid workers closes humanitarian space and jeopardizes relief programmes.


The role of ‘non-state entities’:

As well as dealing with governments, today’s humanitarian agencies also face a bewildering array of non-state entities, such as militias and rebel authorities, who often determine whether or not the help gets through.


Protection gaps:

The children who are the most vulnerable in everyday situations – the poorest, the girls, the disabled and those from particular ethnic groups – are those at greatest risk during emergencies. Ideally, measures should be in place to protect all rights of all children at all times, without exception. But specific measures may be needed to protect the most vulnerable children in an emergency.



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