Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need
In 2013, Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Uruguayan government concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria”, which stated:
The Uruguayan government expresses its grave concern regarding the humanitarian consequences of the prolonged and serious crisis in Syria …
Uruguay urges immediate, unrestricted and unconditional access for international humanitarian assistance, in particular medicines and food to assist the civilian population, in accordance with the guiding humanitarian principles of the United Nations.
At the same time, the Uruguayan government asks for a resolution of the conflict through peaceful means that are in line with the country’s human rights obligations, calling for an immediate end of the violence from both sides and for the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis as a priority and a matter of urgency.
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, including Uruguay, 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  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  Rome Statute of the ICC [International Criminal Court] and that accountability and legal protection are therefore stronger with an increasing membership in the ICC.
In 2013, Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Uruguay condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria and calls for a peaceful resolution of the conflict”, which stated:
The Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay once again reiterates its condemnation of the use of violence by the parties to the conflict in Syria …
… It is essential for both parties to ensure unrestricted access for humanitarian assistance to the whole Syrian territory.
Uruguay’s Basic Information for the Pre-Deployment of Personnel Involved in UN Stabilization Missions (2014), in a section entitled “The protection of childhood”, states:
In situations of armed conflict, children are exposed to serious violations of their rights, which demand the attention of all responsible parties in those locations, especially those who, like the contingents in the mission zones, work under the flag of the United Nations.
The issue is so important that a dedicated office has been set up, headed by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
The office has identified six serious violations of the human rights of children during armed conflicts. Personnel are requested to be particularly alert to these violations and to report them through the established mechanisms. …
The six serious violations are:
6. Denial of access for children to humanitarian assistance.
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
26.2. Persons and objects affected by the war crimes set out in the present provision are persons and objects which international law protects in international or internal armed conflict.
26.3. The following are war crimes:
33. Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare or of combat by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies or access to the victims as provided for under the  Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.