Criminalization of remaining in an area under control of terrorist organizations

On November 12th, an expert meeting took place in the Senate. The purpose of this meeting was to hear from different professional angles about the impact of the proposed law in greater detail.

The Dutch Relief Alliance, represented by Oxfam Novib, attended the hearing and voiced its concerns. In preparation for the hearing, the DRA and Doctors Without Borders submitted a joint position paper, listing their objections to the proposed law.

The paper reiterates that this proposal severely limits principled and timely humanitarian action. It politicizes our work, thereby undermining the neutrality, impartiality and independence of our work.

There are serious concerns about the efficacy and the necessity of the proposal, including by the Council of State. Furthermore, it will impact the safety of our aid workers. Working in conflict and crisis settings, they already face a variety of security threats. Requiring them to obtain a permission to travel to these regions not only delays the delivery of aid but it also interferes with the impartiality principle of humanitarian action.

Finally, the proposal does not include a clear outlined definition of which regions would be categorized as “under control by a terrorist organization”.

Please read our joint position paper (in Dutch) here.