In news– Amidst Russia-Ukraine war many countries urged both countries to establish safe Humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave.
What are Human Corridors?
- Humanitarian corridors 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.
- They are necessary when cities are under siege and the population is cut off from basic food supplies, electricity and water.
- The term was first evoked during the Bosnian War in the 1990s, when the U.N. set up “safe areas” for civilians.
- In most cases, humanitarian corridors are negotiated by the United Nations but 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.
- Access to humanitarian corridors is determined by the parties to the conflict.
- They also determine the length of time, the area and which means of transport– trucks, buses or planes are allowed to use the corridor.
- In rare cases, humanitarian corridors are only organized by one of the parties to the conflict (this happened with the American airlift after the Berlin blockade by the Soviet Union in 1948-1949).
- Humanitarian corridors have been put in place since the mid-20th century. For example, during the Kindertransport from 1938 to 1939, Jewish children were evacuated from Israel to the United Kingdom from areas under Nazi control.
- They were also created during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia and the 2018 evacuation of Ghouta, Syria.