The Call for Humanitarian Action


A Call for action to bolster respect for international humanitarian law


The Call for Humanitarian Action was formally presented the French and German Foreign Ministers as part of the Alliance for Multilateralism during an event on 26 September 2019 and was opened for signature by all States and organizations. It aims to mobilize the international community to effectively implement and strengthen international humanitarian law, particularly as regards the protection of humanitarian workers and healthcare personnel.

The Call for Action has the following objectives:

  • Implementing international humanitarian law on the ground, particularly Security Council Resolution 2286 of 3 May 2016 on the protection of healthcare personnel, to support the call on this topic launched by the political declaration of 31 October 2017, put forward by France (and endorsed by 48 States). The aim, for example, is to include protection of humanitarian and healthcare workers from the planning stage of military operations;
  • Training of State actors (partner armed forces) and non-State actors (NGO, non-State armed groups) in international humanitarian law. The aim is to promote exchange of best practices, for example, in protecting civilian infrastructure, particularly hospitals;
  • Taking into account the concerns of humanitarian actors when drawing up anti-terrorist sanctions and legislation, in order to preserve humanitarian space. This was done for Security Council Resolution 2462 of 28 March 2019 regarding the fight against terrorist financing;
  • Bolstering the documentation on violations of international humanitarian law and the fight against impunity, supporting efforts to collect and analyse information, improving prevention and guaranteeing accountability reporting at the level of the United Nations and at national level.

Support as of 11 February 2021

47 States have already endorsed this Call for Humanitarian Action: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uruguay.

Next steps

During the 5th National Humanitarian Conference (CNH), on 17 December 2020, the President of the French Republic proposed to set up an International Humanitarian Conference which would bring together States and NGOs to exchange on an equal footing on the main challenges related to humanitarian access.

Nationally, France has developed a national training plan in international humanitarian law.

Finally, as part of the French presidency of the United Nations Security Council, France will organize a meeting on the preservation of humanitarian space and the protection of humanitarian workers in July 2021 in New York.

Updated: February 2021