Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need

Additional Protocol I
Article 70(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
The Parties to the conflict and each High Contracting Party shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel provided in accordance with this Section, even if such assistance is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party”. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 70(2). Article 70 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.43, 27 May 1977, p. 245.
[emphasis added]
Additional Protocol II (draft)
Article 33(2) of the draft Additional Protocol II submitted by the ICRC to the CDDH provided:
The parties to the conflict and any High Contracting Party through whose territory supplies must pass shall grant free passage when relief actions are carried out in accordance with the conditions stated in paragraph 1. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. I, Part Three, Draft Additional Protocols, June 1973, p. 43.
[emphasis added]
This proposal was amended and adopted by consensus in Committee II of the CDDH. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XIII, CDDH/406/Rev.1, 17 March-10 June 1977, p. 385, § 96.
The approved text provided:
The Parties to the conflict and each High Contracting Party through whose territory these relief supplies will pass shall facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments provided in accordance with the conditions stated in paragraph 2. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XIII, CDDH/406/Rev.1, 17 March-10 June 1977, p. 424.
[emphasis added]
Eventually, however, this paragraph was not included in the final draft article that was voted upon in the plenary session.
No data.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
A neutral State may allow the passage of … relief goods belonging to parties to the conflict (HC [1907 Hague Convention respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land] Article 14). It should ensure that no battle units or military equipment are included. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0936.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) states:
If the whole or part of the population of occupied territory suffers from shortage of supplies, the Occupant must agree to relief schemes being instituted on their behalf and must facilitate such schemes by all the means at his disposal. The schemes in question will consist in particular of the provision of the consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing … All parties to [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] must permit the free passage of such consignments and must guarantee their protection. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 541.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) provides:
If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.
Such schemes, which may be undertaken … by States shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.
All Contracting Parties shall permit the free passage of these consignments and shall guarantee their protection. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 388.
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Ireland
Under Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 70(2), is a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the two additional protocols to [the 1949 Geneva] Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(b).
No data.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in reply to a written question in the House of Commons asking “what plans [were] in place to ensure early access for UN agencies and international aid agencies into Basra”, the UK Secretary of State for International Development wrote:
Most humanitarian agencies require a permissive security environment before they can operate in Iraq. The Office of the UN Security Co-ordinator (UNSECOORD) provides security advice to the UN humanitarian agencies. Security updates are also being provided through the Humanitarian Operations Centre in Kuwait. NGOs are being issued passes to cross the Kuwait/Iraq border by the Humanitarian Operations Centre in Kuwait. Once the situation allows, NGOs will need to undertake their own security assessments before engaging. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Secretary of State for International Development, Hansard, 10 April 2003, Vol. 403, Written Answers, col. 389W.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2000 on protection of civilians in armed conflicts, the UN Security Council called upon “all parties concerned, including neighbouring states, to cooperate fully with the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations agencies in providing … access” of humanitarian personnel. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1296, 19 April 2000, § 8, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on Somalia, the UN Security Council “urges the countries in the region to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance by land or via air and sea ports.”  
UN Security Council, Res. 1772, 20 August 2007, § 20, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In 1994, in a statement by its President on the situation in Rwanda, the UN Security Council stated:
The Security Council calls on all States to assist the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian and relief agencies operating in the area in meeting the urgent humanitarian needs in Rwanda and its bordering States. The Council calls on States bordering Rwanda … to facilitate transfer of goods and supplies to meet the needs of the displaced persons within Rwanda. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1994/21, 30 April 1994, p. 2.
UN Security Council
In 2007, in a statement by its President concerning the situation in Somalia, the UN Security Council stated:
The Council … urges the wider region to help facilitate the cross-border provision of aid to Somalia, across land borders or via air- and sea-ports. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/2007/13, 30 April 2007, p. 1.
UN Security Council
In 2007, in a statement by its President concerning Somalia, the UN Security Council stated:
The Security Council emphasizes again the need for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian relief assistance to Somalia, including assistance to the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, urges Member States to support generously such operations, and demands that all parties ensure unfettered access for humanitarian assistance. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/2007/19, 14 June 2007, p. 2.
UN General Assembly
In 1991, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations. The guiding principles on humanitarian assistance annexed to the resolution emphasize, inter alia, that: “States in proximity to emergencies are urged to participate closely with the affected countries in international efforts, with a view to facilitating, to the extent possible, the transit of humanitarian assistance.” 
UN General Assembly, Res. 46/182, 19 December 1991, Annex, § 7, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly:
Reaffirms also that States whose populations are in need of humanitarian assistance are called upon to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations and that States in proximity to humanitarian emergencies are urged to facilitate, to the extent possible, the transit of humanitarian assistance. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/141, 15 December 2004, preamble, adopted without a vote.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a decision adopted in 1996 on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights appealed to the “international community as a whole and to all Governments, including that of Iraq, to facilitate the supply of food and medicine to the civilian population”. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Decision on the humanitarian situation in Iraq, UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/DEC/1996/107, 25 November 1996.
UN Secretary-General
In 1999, in a report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Secretary-General urged “neighbouring Member States to ensure access for humanitarian assistance”. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, UN Doc. S/1999/957, 8 September 1999, § 51, Recommendation 19.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The Code of Conduct for Humanitarian Assistance in Sierra Leone, issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and annexed to the 1999 United Nations Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for Sierra Leone, contains certain guiding principles for States and non-State entities. One of these principles provides:
States in proximity to emergencies are urged to participate closely with affected countries in international efforts with a view to facilitating, to the extent possible, the transit of humanitarian assistance and humanitarian personnel. 
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for Sierra Leone (January–December 1999), December 1998, Annex I, Code of Conduct for Humanitarian Assistance in Sierra Leone, p. 88.
European Community
In a declaration on Yugoslavia in 1992, the EC called upon all parties to the conflict and other States “to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance … including through the establishment of humanitarian corridors”. 
EC, Declaration on Yugoslavia, 20 July 1992, § 4.
OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government
In a resolution adopted in 1993 on the situation in Angola, the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government called on “the OAU Member States and the international community to provide urgent humanitarian aid in order to mitigate the sufferings of the people in this country”. 
OAU, Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Declaration 2 (XXIX), 28–30 June 1993, § 9.
No data.
No data.
Council of Delegates (1991)
At its Budapest Session in 1991, the Council of Delegates adopted a resolution on humanitarian assistance in situations of armed conflict, in which it called upon all parties to armed conflicts and, where applicable, any High Contracting Party “to agree to and cooperate in relief actions which are exclusively humanitarian, impartial and non-discriminatory in character, within the meaning of the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement”. 
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Council of Delegates, Budapest Session, 28–30 November 1991, Res. 12, § c.
Institute of International Law
In a resolution adopted at its Wiesbaden Session in 1975, the Institute of International Law stated:
In cases where the territory controlled by one party can be reached only by crossing … the territory of a third State, free passage over such territory should be granted to any relief consignment, at least insofar as is provided for in Article 23 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV]. 
Institute of International Law, Wiesbaden Session, Resolution III, The Principle of Non-Intervention in Civil Wars, 14 August 1975, Article 4(2).