Related Rule
Germany
Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
If the civilian population of a party to the conflict is inadequately supplied with indispensable goods, relief actions by neutral States or humanitarian organisations shall be permitted. Every State and in particular the adversary, is obliged to grant such relief actions free transit, subject to its right of control. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 503.
The manual further states: “The occupying power shall agree to relief actions conducted by other States or by humanitarian organisations.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 569.
Germany’s Law Introducing the International Crimes Code (2002) punishes anyone who, as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, “inflicts, with the intent of destroying a population in whole or in part, conditions of life on that population or on parts thereof, being conditions calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. 
Germany, Law Introducing the International Crimes Code, 2002, Article 1, § 7(1)(2).
In April 1999, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs called upon the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to guarantee that humanitarian assistance could reach Kosovo and those who were on the verge of starvation. 
Germany, Federal Foreign Office, Press Release, Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on humanitarian assistance to Kosovo, 6 April 1999, Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Vol. 2, 1999, p. 366.
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
On the basis of the new report of the Secretary-General that we are considering today, I would like to share with the Council a catalogue of three areas for measures to move our protection agenda forward.
The first area is the protection of women and children …
The second area is humanitarian access and the security of humanitarian personnel. Various crises and emergency situations in recent years have shown that humanitarian access and the security of humanitarian personnel are linked. A lack of security for humanitarian personnel results in the prevention of access to vulnerable populations in need. The consequences of the horrendous attack on the United Nations office in Baghdad in August 2003 showed that quite plainly. The Security Council reacted without delay through the adoption of resolution 1502 (2003). Germany supports efforts aimed at enlarging the scope of protection of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel. Measures taken to ensure adequate security for humanitarian personnel will lead to better humanitarian access and thus to the better protection of civilians. In addition, the role that neighbouring States and regional organizations have in helping to establish humanitarian access may be further explored.
Thirdly, regarding refugees and internally displaced persons, in general, their situation must be improved …
Germany thus proposes the following measures.
The first is a new resolution on the protection of civilians; the most recent resolution that the Security Council adopted on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (resolution 1296 (2000)) dates from 2000. That resolution, as well as the preceding relevant resolution (resolution 1265 (1999)), were regarded as a starting point. After four years we feel the need for an update of the most recent resolution, to take into account recent developments and the changing character of conflicts. Germany would support efforts aimed at adopting a new resolution.
A second measure would be more frequent reporting by the Emergency Relief Coordinator …
A third measure would be the promotion of the responsibility of new actors. There are new actors in the area of the protection of civilians in armed conflict whom we have to deal with. More than ever before, we need constructive engagement with non-State armed groups. They not only have the potential to deny humanitarian actors humanitarian access; they actually do it. They are also a potential source of harm to the civilian populations where they operate. Without legitimizing them and their actions, we must explore innovative ways to engage them in a constructive dialogue and, where necessary, to pressure them to make them abide by international humanitarian law and human rights norms. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.4990, 14 June 2004, pp. 24–25.
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
We welcome the fact that, after long and difficult negotiations, the Council has adopted this resolution [UN Security Council Resolution 1556] …
We hold the Government of the Sudan responsible for the security of all 1.5 million people at risk in Darfur and for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid.
Let us not be misunderstood. Our goal is to stop the suffering and the killing of innocent civilians. We expect all parties, the rebel side as much as the Government of the Sudan, to fulfil their obligations. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.5015, 30 July 2004, p. 7.
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
On this occasion, Germany would like to propose three points that we deem to be of crucial importance concerning areas where the need for progress is urgent … We propose the following.
First, let us put an end to impunity …
My second point is that we should better address the issue of humanitarian access, as some previous speakers have already pointed out. As the Secretary-General pointed out in his most recent report (S/2004/431), humanitarian access is either denied or obstructed for more than 10 million people around the world. Given such a number, my delegation finds it difficult to understand why we have to fight so hard in the General Assembly and in the Economic and Social Council to include proper language on access in resolutions concerning humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarian access has a single goal: to help people who are in critical need. No humanitarian action, no humanitarian staff member, intends to violate the sovereignty of States. Sovereignty is not a predominant issue for the humanitarian community, but it is a crucial point for those who deny access or link access to prior approval by the State concerned. That conflict of perceptions determines our humanitarian discussions and actions. Our energies are siphoned off by legalistic skirmishes, when instead we should be acting in concert to reach a broad-based operational approach. We believe that the vulnerable and those who suffer merit a more effective decision-making process among ourselves.
We appreciate the recommendations contained in the report of the High-level Panel on viable, practical measures such as training for political and peacekeeping representatives to negotiate access and the use by the Security Council of special field missions or other diplomatic measures to enhance access and the protection of civilians.
Let me end my remarks by reiterating our position: we believe that a new resolution on the protection of civilians would be a feasible option for the Council. I say that, bearing in mind that many of the points raised by the excellent Security Council resolutions 1265 (1999) and 1296 (2000) still await implementation. However, we believe that the changing character of conflict and the development of new threats, new institutions and new tools to engage more effectively in assistance should be reflected in an operational text adopted by the Council. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.5100, 14 December 2004, pp. 18–19.
In 2009, in reply to a Minor Interpellation in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) entitled “Gaza War”, Germany’s Federal Government wrote:
2. a) Is it correct that the Federal Government still considers the Gaza-Strip as territory occupied by Israel?
b) If so, does the Federal Government share the view that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians constitutes an international armed conflict?
c) If not, why not?
On 12 September 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip after 38 years. However, it continues to exercise control over the borders and airspace of the Gaza Strip. The Federal Government is thus of the view that the civilian population in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel is protected by international humanitarian law, in particular the [1949] Geneva Convention IV relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. This remains the case as long as Israel is exercising effective control over the Gaza Strip as occupying power. Therefore, in the Federal Government’s view, the provisions of the Geneva Convention IV relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War apply to the armed confrontations between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 
Germany, Lower House of Federal Parliament (Bundestag), Reply by the Federal Government to the Minor Interpellation by the Members Dr. Norman Paech, Monika Knoche, Wolfgang Gehrcke, further Members and the Parliamentary Group DIE LINKE, BT-Drs. 16/12087, 27 February 2009, p. 3.
The Federal Government further stated:
8. a) What measures is the Federal Government taking to achieve the opening of the borders with Gaza by the Israeli government, [and] to ensure that basic necessities are provided to the people living in Gaza, noting that during the blockade basic necessities were provided through tunnels which were also used to smuggle weapons … ?
The Federal Government and the EU strongly advocate that the Gaza Strip be provided with sufficient humanitarian relief and that access be given to humanitarian personnel … In 2009 the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development have already made available 13.5 million euros for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip. 
Germany, Lower House of Federal Parliament (Bundestag), Reply by the Federal Government to the Minor Interpellation by the Members Dr. Norman Paech, Monika Knoche, Wolfgang Gehrcke, further Members and the Parliamentary Group DIE LINKE, BT-Drs. 16/12087, 27 February 2009, p. 5; see also p. 6.
In 2009, Germany’s Federal Foreign Minister stated: “I appeal urgently to all conflict parties in Sri Lanka to ensure the protection of the civilian population and adhere to international humanitarian law. International aid organizations must be granted access to all refugees immediately. It is especially important that these people receive the medicines they desperately need.” 
Germany, Statement by the Federal Foreign Minister on the protection of civilians in Sri Lanka, 23 April 2009.
In 2009, at a ceremony commemorating “150 years since Solferino”, Germany’s Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office stated: “Wherever possible, it has to be our goal to gain the acceptance of the parties to the conflict for humanitarian assistance.” 
Germany, Speech by the Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office on the occasion of a ceremony commemorating “150 years since Solferino”, 26 June 2009.
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states that, in the case of a blockade, “it is … prohibited to hinder relief shipments for the civilian population”. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 1051.
Germany’s Law Introducing the International Crimes Code (2002) punishes anyone who, in connection with an international or a non-international armed conflict, “impedes relief supplies, in contravention of international humanitarian law”. 
Germany, Law Introducing the International Crimes Code, 2002, Article 1, § 11(1)(5).
In 1994, in a statement in the lower house of parliament, a German Minister of State, in line with the other members of the EU, condemned the hampering of humanitarian aid in Sudan. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by a Minister of State, 3 March 1994, Plenarprotokoll 12/213, p. 18469.
In 1996, during a debate in the UN General Assembly, Germany called upon all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan not to hamper humanitarian aid. 
Germany, Statement before the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/51/PV.84, 13 December 1996, p. 7.
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
There are new actors in the area of the protection of civilians in armed conflict whom we have to deal with. More than ever before, we need constructive engagement with non-State armed groups. They not only have the potential to deny humanitarian actors humanitarian access; they actually do it. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.4990, 14 June 2004, p. 25.
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “Civilians may at any time seek help from a protecting power, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or any other aid society.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 516.
In 1993, during a parliamentary debate on the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a German Minister of State stated that existing IHL granted a right to the civilian population to receive humanitarian aid. Therefore, obtaining the consent of the occupying or besieging forces to grant transit of humanitarian goods was legally unnecessary. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by a Minister of State, 22 April 1993, Plenarprotokoll 12/152, p. 13074, § C.
In 1997, during an open debate in the UN Security Council, Germany declared: “We have witnessed … a worrisome development whereby civilian populations are denied humanitarian assistance by the Powers in control of the territory, in clear breach of the norms of international humanitarian and human rights law.” The consequences of these actions were said to range from massive displacement to death by starvation. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3778 (Resumption 1), 21 May 1997, p. 18.