ARMED CONFLICT & COVID-19: CONFLICT ZONES HINGES ON IHL IN RESPONSE TO THE ONGOING PANDEMIC
By Muskan Mahajan
This article represents a dramatic new threat to the life of the vulnerable including the migrants, refugees and internally displaced people in the war-torn countries. The international humanitarian law (IHL) is an indispensable structure in armed conflict which provides crucial safeguards to people in conflict-affected states. However, the march of humanitarian relief has been hampered as States have taken measure such as restriction on international travel to contain the spread of the ongoing unprecedented virus. This article addresses the various rights guaranteed to the vulnerable population (refugees, migrants and IDPs) in general and during armed conflict under International Law and International Humanitarian Law. Further, the article explores how the war-torn states can combat the ongoing crises by emphasizing on the need for humanitarian relief and a constant dialogue with an impartial humanitarian organization. Under International law, the states are under the obligation to consider the risk faced by the vulnerable population, especially during a pandemic. Moreover, in armed conflict, the right to universal healthcare during the present crises of coronavirus is protected by IHL. As such this article concludes that the provisions of the law of armed conflict (IHL) give parties to the conflict, third parties and impartial international humanitarian organizations such as ICRC, important ground rules to guide the dialogue on humanitarian access and humanitarian activities, including when a pandemic erupts in times of armed conflict.
©2020- Lex Humanitariae: Journal for a Change