As part of its conflict mediation and dialogue activities, and where political dialogue may be difficult or impossible, HD undertakes mediation on a humanitarian basis. Humanitarian mediation enables the parties in conflict to address key issues, such as safe access and protection of civilians, the special needs of women and children, displaced populations and any affected minority groups.
It aims to improve commitment to humanitarian protection principles by parties in conflict areas and the protection of civilians through increased humanitarian access. It also intends to promote the incorporation of adequate humanitarian safeguards into peace processes. The Humanitarian Mediation Programme intends to complement and support potential peace efforts and keep open essential and discreet channels of communication. Humanitarian mediation often provides a way to begin dialogue when other methods are impeded and it can engage non-State actors, who may otherwise be excluded, as well as United Nations and humanitarian agencies. This can provide a valuable confidence-building process for subsequent peace negotiators.
HD’s Humanitarian Mediation activities were launched in 2007. They draw on HD’s experience of mediation and on previous work focused on improving civilian protection at the country and regional levels and in particular on improving the approach of regional and international actors to civilian protection in conflict areas. The focus has since shifted to providing opportunities for dialogue and mediation on humanitarian issues to belligerents, state and non-state actors, and humanitarian agencies, particularly in Africa and Asia.
HMP works closely with regional and country offices to support various humanitarian mediation projects in Africa, Central Asia and Asia, in contexts where political dialogue has been non-existent or has not progressed while humanitarian issues remain unaddressed. This type of mediation has also been used in post-conflict situations where unresolved humanitarian issues have resulted in ongoing tensions.
In light of the record levels of conflict–related displacements and two global summits in 2016 which focused on this issue, there is currently considerable attention on humanitarian issues. In this context, HD’s Humanitarian Mediation Programme continues to explore ways in which the organisation may contribute and be helpful.
HD would like to thank the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its financial support to HMP over recent years.