Whilst COVID-19 represents a serious threat across all countries, even those with strong health systems, the impact is likely to be greatest in places where years and sometimes decades of conflict have weakened health systems, leaving them with a reduced capacity to detect, manage and follow-up cases, increasing the risk of transmission. Violence, security and a multitude of armed non-state actors (ANSAs) in these contexts add additional complexity that cannot be purely addressed through a state-centric approach.
Alain Délétroz, Director General, summarizes in this video Geneva Call’s response to the crisis, a response anchored by its mission to strengthen the respect of humanitarian norms by ANSAs, in order to improve the protection of civilians, and more specially the protection of the medical missions, whilst recognising the current humanitarian imperative to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Under international humanitarian law both states and ANSAs are required to ensure, maintain and provide access to healthcare facilities, goods and services for those in need, without discrimination. At this time of crisis, Geneva Call endeavours to strengthen both ANSAs’ adherence to international norms specifically related to health care as well as, in coordination with health organisations, their capacity to provide healthcare and take necessary preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Geneva Call’s response operates across the triple nexus to address the immediate health crisis, to reduce the likely negative long-term economic and development impacts of the crisis and ultimately to reduce violence experienced by civilians, promoting peace.