القاعدة ذات الصلة
Switzerland
Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states that “the personnel of accepted humanitarian organizations, relief consignments and equipment must benefit from all necessary facilities, notably free passage,” in order to assist civilians who are in a territory temporarily occupied by foreign troops. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 155(2).
Switzerland’s Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Strategy (2009) states:
In many armed conflicts humanitarian access to the civilian population is heavily restricted. An operational response alone cannot resolve this problem. A variety of political means and a solid argumentation based on legal arguments must also be used.
Switzerland is committed – politically, legally and operationally – to ensuring rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to civilians affected by armed conflicts. In statements to the Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, Switzerland regularly stresses the vital importance of gaining rapid and unimpeded access. It also uses its bilateral contacts with relevant authorities and with non-state armed groups to remind them of the importance of humanitarian access to civilians. In certain situations, Switzerland, together with its humanitarian partners, also maintains contact with the competent authorities in order to facilitate access to humanitarian actors working in conflict zones.
Switzerland has recently launched an initiative which aims to provide national authorities, international organisations and humanitarian actors working in the field with a range of practical tools, such as a guide on the normative framework underpinning humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Strategy, 2009, p. 12, text box.
One of the strategic objectives noted in the Strategy is that “[h]umanitarian access as well as the safety and security of all relevant operational actors are guaranteed”. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Strategy, 2009, p. 16.
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Humanitarian access
If the civilian population is not adequately provided with food supplies, international humanitarian law provides that relief actions which are humanitarian, impartial and non-discriminatory shall be undertaken, subject to the consent of the parties concerned. It also requires States to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded access of relief consignments. Civilians have the right to turn to any organisation that could come to their aid. Despite this, humanitarian organisations often have no access to Civilians in need of assistance and protection in Armed conflicts, either because the parties to the conflict refuse permission, or because of geographical or logistical difficulties, bureaucratic obstacles or security considerations. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 22–23.
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
We welcome the appeal of the [UN] Security Council in its resolution 1860 of 8 January … for the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza. … However, we are disappointed that the resolution makes no mention of the importance of respect for international humanitarian law. … It is by insisting on the strict application of international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict that the Council will achieve better protection of civilians. The Security Council underlined itself in its Presidential Statement of 27 May 2008 the importance of … unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to provide assistance to civilians in armed conflict in accordance with international law.
Although our attention is currently turned towards the situation in Gaza, we should nevertheless not forget the other extremely worrying situations concerning the protection of civilians. … Finally, we remain extremely concerned about the situation in Darfur where humanitarian access remains a problem and where several incidents point to continuing violations of international law.
We are strongly aware that crisis situations, which are often extremely complex, demand specifically trained personnel, at times clarification, and the application of the law in order to respond to the demands on the ground.
It was from this perspective that Switzerland organised a meeting of experts at the beginning of July 2008 to identify the main difficulties concerning humanitarian access, and to reflect on ways to overcome them at the judicial, political and operational levels. Switzerland is in the process of examining the possible steps to take in the follow-up to this meeting, in particular the drafting of a practical guide for humanitarian actors which would make explicit and clarify the legal framework concerning humanitarian access in periods of armed conflict. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 14 January 2009, pp. 6–7.
In 2009, in response to a motion before the Council of States by the Commission on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
The humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka is of the highest concern to the Federal Council. …
Humanitarian aid
The Federal Council considers that what is most urgent is to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, the protection of the civilian population and the rapid access of humanitarian organizations, without restriction. For this reason, Switzerland is actively engaged on the ground in delivering essential goods to displaced persons in Vanni, in ensuring their security and in promoting the access, without restriction, of international aid organizations. 
Switzerland, Council of States, Response by the Federal Council to Motion No. 09.3358, 13 May 2009, pp. 1–2.
In 2009, in response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Humanitarian aid
The Federal Council considers that what is most urgent is to ensure the protection of the civilian population, in particular of evacuated victims of war and internally displaced [persons]. This is why Switzerland is actively engaged on the ground in ensuring that international aid organizations have access, without restriction, to these persons, that these persons have adequate support through the supply of food, medication and emergency shelter, and that they can return as quickly as possible to their region of origin, in safety and dignity. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Question No. 09.1059, 19 August 2009, p. 2.
In 2009, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Humanitarian access in armed conflicts
One of the primary concerns of humanitarian law and policy is to guarantee access to victims and to provide assistance to them. However, it frequently occurs that one or several of the parties in conflict impede or prohibit access to these populations or that it is impossible to ensure the security of humanitarian actors. This was once more clearly evident in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008 and at the beginning of 2009. Switzerland called upon all the parties to the conflict to allow rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access and to protect medical personnel, hospitals and other medical units. …
Often, one does not fully know with whom to negotiate access, nor on what basis. In order to clarify such questions, the FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] organized on 30 June and 1 July 2008 in Montreux a meeting dedicated to the issue of humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict. The objective was to identify the main difficulties for access and to reflect on means to overcome these, whether at a legal, political or operational level. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.7.3, pp. 5811–5812; see also Section 3.3.7.2, p. 5808.
In 2010, in response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council wrote:
Faced with the difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza as a result of the blockade and particularly after the war in Gaza in 2009, Switzerland has on several occasions proposed establishing an international mechanism permitting regular access to the Gaza Strip in order to ensure provisions to and the reconstruction of this territory; a mechanism that takes into account the security needs of Israel. In accordance with the [1949] Geneva Conventions, the occupying power is under the obligation to permit humanitarian access. Switzerland further undertakes its consultations with several States on the modalities of an access regime to Gaza. It will continue to actively seek the support of its partners so that a regular and predictable access is put in place as fast as possible. The tragic incident that occurred on 31 May [2010] underlines the importance of establishing humanitarian access. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Question No. 10.5235, 7 June 2010, p. 1; see also Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Question No. 10.5261, 7 June 2010, p. 1.
In 2010, in its Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
The following list offers a glimpse of the initiatives being carried out, or having been recently concluded, that aim to develop or reinforce the content of international humanitarian law:
- since 2009, Switzerland supports a research project that seeks to clarify remaining questions with regard to humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict (“Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflictˮ). The objective is to publish a legal manual to clarify the normative framework and a practical manual (field manual) on the topic. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, 17 September 2010, Section 5, pp. 25–27.
In 2010, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated: “At the UN, Switzerland’s priorities on humanitarian matters are …, the guarantee of access without restrictions to zones of catastrophes and war for humanitarian actors and the guarantee of the security of the latter by the host state”. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2010, 10 December 2010, Section 2.3, p. 1041.
The Federal Council also stated:
Switzerland notes that in the Gaza Strip, in particular, the humanitarian situation … has still not received a tangible response. The situation has deteriorated since the recent armed conflict (of December 2008 to January 2009). Switzerland regularly calls upon all the parties, including Israel as occupying power, to respect their obligations. …
Furthermore, Switzerland maintains the need to ensure access of humanitarian assistance to Gaza … , and it presented before the United Nations Security Council a project for the establishment of an independent mechanism to manage humanitarian assistance to Gaza. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2010, 10 December 2010, Section 2.5, pp. 1025–1026; see also section 4.2.2, p. 1089.
The Federal Council further stated:
The question of access to the civilian population constitutes a central problem for humanitarian action. Switzerland makes a special effort to identify the obstacles to humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict, and to promote concrete instruments allowing to overcome these. A new initiative in this domain was launched in cooperation with the ICRC and OCHA [UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] in order to clarify the normative framework and to develop a manual on humanitarian access for operational actors. This initiative should begin to show results throughout 2010. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2010, 10 December 2010, Section 4.2.4, p. 1103; see also section 4.2.5, p. 1104.
In 2012, in its Report on Foreign Policy 2011, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Among the major challenges of humanitarian aid is also access to the civilian population. Switzerland focuses, in particular, on the identification of the obstacles that complicate humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict, and has launched, in cooperation with the ICRC and the [UN] Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an initiative that should contribute to the clarification of the legal framework and to the formulation of a practical handbook for humanitarian actors. This initiative is part of Switzerland’s operational commitment to ensure better protection of the civilian population in conflict areas. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2011, 18 January 2012, pp. 2770–2771.
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Switzerland calls for an investigation into the massacre in Houla”, which stated:
Switzerland reiterates its support for the plan of the Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, Kofi Annan, because its sees this as the only way to end the crisis in Syria peacefully. It demands that the Government of Syria implement all elements of the plan without delay, including giving humanitarian organisations access to the civilian victims. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Switzerland calls for an investigation into the massacre in Houla”, Press Release, 27 May 2012.
In 2012, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on children and armed conflict, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
[T]he situation of children affected by armed conflict remains alarming on a global scale. Children continue … not to have access to humanitarian aid. In order to strengthen the protection of children affected by armed conflicts, two other types of grave violations should be added: … denial of access to humanitarian aid.
We need to increase the pressure applied to authors of violations who persist in their acts. To that end, it is indispensable that a close cooperation be established between the Security Council and the national and international courts seeking to end serious violations of international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on children and armed conflict, 19 September 2012.
In 2012, in a speech on the occasion of Public International Law Day, the head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs stated:
The third major challenge I want to address is humanitarian access. Access to affected populations is today often refused by the parties or hindered in practice. Furthermore, in contemporary armed conflicts, securing and maintaining access for the purpose of helping and protecting civilians proves to be more and more difficult. Promoting rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access is therefore more than ever an absolute priority.
In light of these challenges, in 2009, Switzerland, in cooperation with other partners, launched an initiative on humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict. The goal was to provide national authorities, international organizations and humanitarian actors on the ground with some practical tools. Switzerland has thus developed a manual that summarizes relevant rules of international law and a guide that contains guidelines for humanitarian workers in the context of humanitarian access. Last month Switzerland organized a seminar in Amman with the humanitarian actors operating in the region, in order to present a methodology of how to ensure rapid and unimpeded access, while also offering ways to reflect on how to maintain it. 
Switzerland, Speech by the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of Public International Law Day, 19 October 2012.
In 2012, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, the representative of Switzerland stated:
Another challenge to which Switzerland has actively committed itself is that of enabling humanitarian access. Access of humanitarian actors to civilian populations is a fundamental prerequisite for effective humanitarian action: in situations of armed conflict, numerous obstacles can complicate or even prevent such access. Switzerland, in collaboration with other partners, has published a handbook on the legal framework of humanitarian access, as well as a practical manual aimed at facilitating the operational aspects by outlining and promoting a structured approach, with guidelines for obtaining and maintaining humanitarian access. These instruments have been designed above all for the use of humanitarian actors in the field. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts, 22 October 2012.
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “The use of cluster munitions in Syria – FDFA Statement”, which stated:
Switzerland is extremely concerned about the many allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), and appeals to all parties in the conflict to ensure full compliance with their obligations. It is a matter of urgency that acts of violence and violations of IHL cease, and that humanitarian actors can gain access to the civilian population, which is exposed to the full impact of this prolonged armed conflict. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “The use of cluster munitions in Syria – FDFA Statement”, Press Release, 24 October 2012.
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Appeal by the Swiss authorities for compliance with international humanitarian law in Syria”, which stated:
International humanitarian law is applicable to non-international armed conflict.
4. International humanitarian law is applicable in non-international armed conflicts. All parties to the conflict are therefore obliged to respect its rules in all circumstances …
Appeal to respect international rules
6. Switzerland calls on all parties to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstances and to take the necessary measures to prevent and stop violations of international humanitarian law.
9. Switzerland appeals to all parties to the conflict to ensure rapid and unimpe[de]d humanitarian access to populations in need. Moreover, the parties are subject to the obligation to respect and protect at all times fixed establishments and mobile medical units as well as all humanitarian actors. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Appeal by the Swiss authorities for compliance with international humanitarian law in Syria”, Press Release, 15 November 2012.
In 2013, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued the “Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts”, which stated:
Efforts to achieve rapid and unhindered humanitarian access
Humanitarian access is an indispensable prerequisite for all humanitarian action. Rapid and unhindered humanitarian access is essential in the early stages of an operation, in the dispatching of goods and personnel where they are most needed, in the distribution of humanitarian supplies and in the provision of healthcare services. Full access also enables the populations affected to fully receive the benefits of the aid and services provided to them. In many situations of armed conflicts, humanitarian access to the populations affected is a constant struggle. In modern armed conflicts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure and maintain humanitarian access to help and protect civilians.
In order to address this issue, Switzerland works in a concerted fashion at political, legal and operational levels to achieve humanitarian access. The importance of rapid and unhindered humanitarian access is regularly highlighted in UN debates as well as in bilateral discussions with the parties concerned. Moreover, Switzerland has worked with partner organisations to draft guidelines in an effort to secure and maintain humanitarian access (Handbook on the Normative Framework & Practitioners Manual on Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflict). These documents clarify and explain the normative framework and provide information and practical advice on humanitarian access to humanitarian aid workers on the ground. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, 2013, p. 18.
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
Further, we would like to share our deep concern about the ever-worsening situation with regard to humanitarian access in Syria. It is unclear how the delivery of assistance is coordinated and implemented in disputed areas or so-called “areas under control of opposition groups”. We must therefore find ways to minimize pockets beyond the reach of aid. It is also extremely worrying that the safety of humanitarian workers is not guaranteed. We therefore urge all parties to respect their obligations and to grant rapid and unimpeded access to civilians in need.
Securing continued access is also pivotal in the context of Mali. Despite the speedy progress of military operations in Mali, we should not forget that the needs of vulnerable populations are significant. …
Non-state armed groups constitute a particular challenge with regard to compliance in most modern conflicts. There is a need to find a way to make sure these groups comply with their obligations and allow humanitarian access to populations in need of assistance. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 12 February 2013.
In 2013, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Situation in the Syrian city of Al-Kusair – Statement of the FDFA”, which stated: “The civilian population must immediately be allowed to leave the area, and relief agencies must be permitted access to the victims in order to provide necessary aid.” 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Situation in the Syrian city of Al-Kusair – Statement of the FDFA”, Press Release, 3 June 2013.
In 2013 in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the representative of Switzerland stated: “On the ground, the situation continues to deteriorate. It is therefore important that the parties to the conflict guarantee rapid and unimpeded access so that the humanitarian organizations can provide assistance to all the victims.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, 4 June 2013.
In 2013, in a statement at the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council, the ambassador of Switzerland stated:
Protection of and access to communities affected by armed conflict
Thirdly, Switzerland wishes to recall that rapid and unimpeded access to victims constitutes a cornerstone of international humanitarian law. It is the primary responsibility of States affected by conflict to allow access to, assistance for and protection of victims. Similarly, it is their responsibility to provide a humanitarian response to the basic needs of the affected communities, such as food, housing, health, clean water and protection. Furthermore, we are concerned about the high price paid by humanitarian staff when undertaking missions to save lives. We note in particular the regular attacks and threats against the medical mission, which prevent the delivery of adequate assistance to the wounded and sick. However, and as rightly noted in the Secretary-General’s report, humanitarian access should never be imposed by the use of force. A clear distinction must be made between humanitarian and security operations. The principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence must be at the heart of all humanitarian work, regardless of the actors involved. 
Switzerland, Statement by the ambassador of Switzerland at the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council, 15 July 2013.
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland stated:
In many areas, access to the victims and affected populations is still a most complex challenge. Despite the existing legal framework, humanitarian actors face growing difficulties in gaining access to those affected. It is for this reason that Switzerland has initiated the drafting of two publications in conjunction with OCHA [UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] and the ICRC, the aim of which being to support the humanitarian actors in their efforts to obtain access to victims of armed conflict and to disseminate widely the existing legal framework that applies to humanitarian access issues. 
Switzerland, Statement by the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 19 August 2013.
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians, the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland stated:
Ensuring the protection of civilians in armed conflict is a task which requires our constant attention. … In particular, increasing numbers of humanitarian workers, including medical personnel, have been deliberately harmed or even killed recently; there is thus a clear need to find ways to improve their safety and security, while at the same time humanitarian access to reach those in most need must be maintained and negotiated with all relevant parties. Parties to conflict must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage and distribution of humanitarian relief for civilians in need, in full compliance with the guiding principles of humanitarian assistance enshrined in [UN General Assembly Resolution] A/RES/46/182. We therefore deem progress on the question of access a highly urgent matter, as the imposition of constraints is often done in an arbitrary manner. More must be done, within the framework of the [1945] UN Charter, to ensure accountability but also prevent grave instances of deliberate delays or denials of access for humanitarian operations, as well as attacks against humanitarian workers. In this regard, we recall that attacks on humanitarian workers constitute a war crime under article 8 e iii) of the [1998] Rome Statute of the ICC and that accountability and legal protection are therefore stronger with an increasing membership in the ICC. 
Switzerland, Statement by the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 19 August 2013.
In 2013 in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated: “My delegation calls on the Syrian government and on all those who control territory to allow access for humanitarian aid.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 16 September 2013.
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated:
During the preparation of the report, more than 4.25 million people have been internally displaced in Syria as a result of the hostilities, and their number has even more increased since then, following the intensification of the violence.
This makes access to victims of the war, including internally displaced persons, more and more difficult and the humanitarian actors present face great risks. … In view of the grave circumstances, Switzerland calls on all parties to the conflict to respect the principles of international humanitarian law and to facilitate thus access to vulnerable persons. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 16 September 2013.
In 2013, in a statement at the High-Level Segment of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme on Solidarity and Burden-Sharing with Countries hosting Syrian Refugees, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated: “We also call on the government of Syria and all those who exercise territorial control in Syria to allow unimpeded access of humanitarian aid.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the ambassador of Switzerland at the High-Level Segment of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme on Solidarity and Burden-Sharing with Countries hosting Syrian Refugees, 30 September 2013.
In 2013, in a statement at the 64th Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the ambassador of Switzerland stated: “We also call on the government of Syria and all those who exercise territorial control in Syria to allow unimpeded access of humanitarian aid.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the ambassador of Switzerland at the 64th Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 1 October 2013.
In 2013, in a statement before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated: “We also call on the Syrian government and on all those who exercise territorial control in Syria to allow rapid and unimpeded access of humanitarian aid.”  
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 24 October 2013.
In 2013, in a statement before UN General Assembly on “Item 70(1): Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations”, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
Protection of and access to populations affected by armed conflict
Secondly, on the subject of protection of and access to communities affected by armed conflict, Switzerland agrees fully with the [UN] Secretary-General's analysis. Switzerland wishes to recall that rapid and unimpeded access to victims constitutes a cornerstone of international humanitarian law. It is the responsibility of the parties to a conflict to guarantee access to the victims, ensure the protection of affected populations and not to impede humanitarian relief activities. As such, it is paramount that humanitarian actors be able to negotiate access with all parties to a conflict. We therefore welcome the report by OCHA [UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] and the Norwegian Refugee Council on the impact of national counter-terrorism measures and the secretary-general's mention of this study in his report. Such measures must not impede the efforts of humanitarian actors to gain access and provide relief to the populations affected by conflicts or to publicise and promote respect for international humanitarian law.
Furthermore, we are concerned about the high price paid by humanitarian staff when undertaking missions to save lives. We are very concerned in particular about the regular attacks and threats against the medical institutions and personnel, which prevent the delivery of adequate assistance to the wounded and sick. However and as rightly noted in the secretary-general's report, humanitarian access should never be imposed by the use of force. A clear distinction must be made between humanitarian and security operations. The principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence must be at the heart of all humanitarian work, regardless of the actors involved. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN General Assembly on “Item 70(1): Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations”, 12 December 2013.
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) states: “It is prohibited to starve the civilian population … by impeding relief actions in favour of the population in need.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 147(b).
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states: “Personnel of national and international Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations are protected. They must be able to perform their duties without interference.” 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, § 181.
Switzerland’s Military Criminal Code (1927), taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, states in a chapter entitled “War crimes”:
Art. 110
Articles 112–114 apply in the context of international armed conflicts, including in situations of occupation, and, if the nature of the offence does not exclude it, in the context of non-international armed conflicts.
Art. 112c
1 The penalty shall be a custodial sentence of not less than three years for any person who, in the context of an armed conflict:
c. as a method of warfare, … deprives civilians of objects indispensable to their survival or impedes relief consignments. 
Switzerland, Military Criminal Code, 1927, taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, Articles 110 and 112c (1)(c).
Switzerland’s Penal Code (1937), taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, states under the title “War crimes”:
Art. 264b
Articles 264d–264j apply in the context of international armed conflicts, including in situations of occupation, and, if the nature of the offence does not exclude it, in the context of non-international armed conflicts.
Art. 264g
1 The penalty shall be a custodial sentence of not less than three years for any person who, in the context of an armed conflict:
c. as a method of warfare … deprives civilians of objects indispensable to their survival or impedes relief consignments. 
Switzerland, Penal Code, 1937, taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, Articles 264b and 264g (1)(c).
In 2009, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
One of the primary concerns of humanitarian law and policy is to guarantee access to victims and to provide assistance to them. However, it frequently occurs that one or several of the parties in conflict impede or prohibit access to these populations or that it is impossible to ensure the security of humanitarian actors. This was once more clearly evident in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008 and at the beginning of 2009. Switzerland called upon all the parties to the conflict to allow rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access and to protect medical personnel, hospitals and other medical units. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.7.3, p. 5811.
In 2010, in its Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
3.1 Growing importance of non-State actors
… Humanitarian aid – despite its impartial, neutral and independent character – is thus only authorized with hesitation when it is used by insurgents. …
3.4 [Growing use of] anti-guerrilla tactics
Apart from the direct fight against insurgents, international humanitarian law also addresses other anti-guerrilla tactics. It prohibits, for example, the refusal of humanitarian assistance, thus obliging the parties to the conflict to ensure at any moment the protection of civilians against the dangers resulting from military operations. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, 17 September 2010, Sections 3.1 and 3.4, pp. 6 and 15.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Executive Summary
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides that, in a territory temporarily occupied by foreign troops, “civilians shall have every facility for making application to the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the national Red Cross Society of the country where they may be, as well as to any organization that might assist them”. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 155(1).
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Humanitarian access
If the civilian population is not adequately provided with food supplies, international humanitarian law provides that relief actions which are humanitarian, impartial and non-discriminatory shall be undertaken, subject to the consent of the parties concerned. It also requires States to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded access of relief consignments. Civilians have the right to turn to any organisation that could come to their aid. Despite this, humanitarian organisations often have no access to Civilians in need of assistance and protection in Armed conflicts, either because the parties to the conflict refuse permission, or because of geographical or logistical difficulties, bureaucratic obstacles or security considerations. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 22–23.