What Are Humanitarian Corridors?
The United Nations considers humanitarian corridors to be one of several possible forms of a temporary pause of armed conflict.
- They are demilitarized zones, in a specific area and for a specific time — and both sides of an armed conflict agree to them.
- Via these corridors, either food and medical aid can be brought to areas of conflict, or civilians can be evacuated.
- The corridors are necessary when cities are under siege and the population is cut off from basic food supplies, electricity and water.
- In cases where a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds because the international law of war is being violated — for example through large-scale bombing of civilian targets — humanitarian corridors can provide crucial relief.
- In most cases, humanitarian corridors are negotiated by the United Nations. Sometimes they’re also set up by local groups.
- Since all sides need to agree to set up the corridors, there is a risk of military or political abuse. For example, the corridors can be used to smuggle weapons and fuel into besieged cities.
- On the other hand, they can also be used by UN observers, NGOs and journalists to gain access to contested areas where war crimes are being committed.