have said it before: these are dangerous times.
For Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers, it is
becoming more difficult to be seen as impartial and independent
and work within a secure environment. This situation is referred
to as the shrinking of humanitarian space — that neutral
and independent ground where humanitarians can assist vulnerable
people in times of conflict and disaster.
What are the latest threats to humanitarian action and how
should we respond to them? The cover story looks at this problem,
and highlights, as one example, the efforts of the ICRC and
Philippine National Red Cross to assist the vulnerable in
an increasingly insecure environment.
There is no doubt that humanitarian agencies are working
on identifying ways to respond to this worrisome development,
and ensure that all parties to a conflict respect the independence
and impartiality of humanitarian action. But the process is
in its early stages.