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In many modern wars, more civilian deaths and suffering occur as a result of humanitarian crises prompted or exacerbated by conflicts than from actual hostilities. In addition to those who die as a result of lack of food, water, access to medical care, or adequate sanitation, hundreds of thousands are obliged to leave their homes and sources of livelihood, heightening their vulnerability to the risks posed by military operations, food insecurity, and loss of access to basic services.

Against this background, humanitarian operations play a central role in the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Despite this, while the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL) regulating the conduct of hostilities have received much attention, it was only with the conflict in Syria that the rules regulating humanitarian relief came under similar scrutiny.

Commissioned by the UN Secretary-General, the Oxford Guidance on the Law Regulating Humanitarian Relief Operations addresses the key elements of this area of IHL.

Speaker: Dr Emanuela-Chiara Gillard

Dr Gillard is a Consulting Fellow in Chatham House’s International Law Programme and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict.

Emanuela has over two decades’ experience in the field of international law and humanitarian action. In the past decade a particular focus of her work has been the interplay between sanctions, counterterrorism measures and humanitarian operations. She has addressed these issues from operational, policy and academic perspectives.

Emanuela’s work has also addressed particular aspects of the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including proportionality in the conduct of hostilities and the rules regulating humanitarian relief operations. With Professor Dapo Akande, she is the co-author of the Oxford Guidance on the Law Regulating Humanitarian Relief Operations in Armed Conflict.

From 2007 to 2012 Emanuela was Chief of the Protection of Civilians Section in the Policy Branch of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. For seven years prior to joining OCHA, she was a legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross. Before joining the ICRC in 2000, Emanuela was a legal adviser at the United Nations Compensation Commission. From 1995 to 1997 she was a research fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge.

Chair: Dr Maria Varaki

Dr Varaki is a Lecturer in International Law at the War Studies Department, King's College London, and co-director of the War Crimes Research Group. Before moving to London, she has held posts at the Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki, Kadir Has University in Istanbul, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the iCourts Centre at the University of Copenhagen. Additionally, she has worked for the OHCHR in Geneva, the UNHCR in New York and the Legal Advisory section of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Since November 2017, she is a member of the ILA Committee on Human Rights in times of emergency. 

At this event

Maria Varaki

Lecturer in International Law