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AU Statement at ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2022: High-level panel 2

High-Level Panel Discussion on “Reaching people in need, supporting humanitarian assistance for all in times of conflict and promoting good practices in the application of international humanitarian law”

22 June, 2022

United Nations Headquarters, New York,


H.E. Fatima Kyari Mohammed,

Ambassador, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations

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The panel will discuss ways of supporting humanitarian assistance, facilitating humanitarian access and ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to reach people in need in times of conflict. It will discuss trends, challenges, and good practices related to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in past and present armed conflicts and consider practical ways to strengthen the application of international humanitarian law, facilitate access to people in need and put into practice fundamental protections which save lives and reduce humanitarian suffering. This includes ensuring that humanitarian assistance and protection is provided to all affected people based on their humanitarian needs alone, without discrimination and regardless of nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs or political convictions.

Introductory remarks

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to join you today and I would like also extend the apologises of H.E Minata Samate Cessouma Commissioner For Health, Humanitarian Affairs And Social Development who unfortunately could not be here due to other engagements.

I am however honoured to present some reflections on behalf of the African Union on a topic I am particularly passionate about.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a proud daughter of the Sahel, a region that in recent years has made headlines not for its rich culture, beautiful people, landscape, and natural resources, but for insecurity, instability, and in the last decade has left millions displaced. This combined with the climate crisis, and COVID-19 – has triggered a Humanitarian situation that feeds into a vicious cycle of hunger, displacement, and conflict.

Conflict, linked particularly to acts of terrorism is one of the key drivers of displacement in Africa. This has left millions of people without shelter, food, and basic needs, and in necessitating humanitarian assistance.

As a result, Africa continues to host increasing numbers of refugees, IDPs and others affected by conflict, persecution, and violence, within a humanitarian landscape characterized by new and emergent threats leading to other waves of refugees and IDPs. Humanitarian challenges in Africa are exacerbated by the erosion of respect for the core humanitarian principles, which exist in conflict situations, in implementation of development projects, in natural and human-induced disasters.

It is unfortunate, that amidst these increasing challenges, humanitarian action in Africa, continues to face several challenges related to financing, humanitarian access and humanitarian coordination. Security constraints, armed hostilities and violence are making it difficult to reach the people in need. These constraints limit or block access to people in need of humanitarian assistance and more so impede their ability to reach humanitarian assistance sites and access to basic services such as health facilities, food distribution points, water points, and other livelihood activities such as farming and markets this increases their vulnerability.

We have seen cases where humanitarian access has been negotiated and assistance has reached those in needs. In Niger for instance, the state has played a critical role, a high-level committee has been set up to work with actors on humanitarian access and to advance dialogue and decision-making in this area. Its members consist of the relevant ministries and the humanitarian country team. The AU recommends impartiality neutrality and more pea