Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need
Section A. Access for humanitarian relief
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 23 of the Geneva Convention IV, and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 70(2), are punishable offences.
In 2008, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a written response to a question on foreign conflicts, stated:
Since 4 November, Israel has effectively closed all border crossings for commercial goods, and even for humanitarian supplies. I understand, however, that the situation has improved somewhat in recent days and that Israel has allowed more vital supplies, including fuel, to be delivered to the people of Gaza. This is a welcome development but the population of 1.5 million people continue to face virtually unsustainable conditions.
I raised the situation in Gaza with EU partners at both the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 8 December and a Foreign Ministers’ discussion which took place en marge of the European Council on 11–12 December. Ireland was instrumental in ensuring that the Council Conclusions adopted on 8 December call for the humanitarian situation in Gaza to be addressed with all urgency, as well as stating that crossings should be opened for the supply of goods and services, and that the ability of the UN Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) to deliver humanitarian assistance should be assured. …
Ireland also raised the situation in Gaza during the Universal Periodic Review of Israel at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 4 December, calling on Israel to respect its obligations under international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.
In 2009, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a written response to a question on the situation in Sri Lanka, stated:
As I have stated on many occasions in this House, I am deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. The immediate priority is still the welfare of the 280,000 or so Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) currently being held in IDP camps in the north of the country. There is urgent need for unimpeded access by humanitarian agencies.