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Allies, Partners and Proxies: Challenges and Opportunities in Partnered Military Operations

14 April 2021, 12:30
A webinar to launch a new publication by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) entitled ‘Allies, Partners and Proxies - Managing Support Relationships in Armed Conflict to Reduce the Human Cost of War’, which aims at guiding decision makers in bringing a humanitarian dimension in the design and implementation of any kind of support to warring parties in any conflict.

Over the last two decades of frontline operations, the ICRC has observed the increasing prevalence of external actors’ intervention in armed conflicts, in support of belligerents on the ground. Such support takes various shapes and forms, as actors look to share the financial, political, and operational burden of pursuing their strategic objectives. Ultimately, these relationships can escalate and prolong conflict and impose heavy humanitarian costs on civilians and those not fighting. Yet at the same time, they also provide an opportunity to expand their protection and reduce the human cost of war.

The ICRC’s practical guide demonstrates the complexity of support relationships and calls for greater consideration of their humanitarian impact. It also calls for actors in a support relationship to take greater individual and collective responsibility for ensuring that civilians and others not fighting are protected.

By identifying practical measures that can be taken in support relationships to prevent or minimise humanitarian consequences, the ICRC has produced a preliminary framework designed to prompt further reflection and engagement on such critical issues. This is particularly relevant to key stakeholders across various parts of government, be they political figures, policy makers, legislators, weapon export controllers or military commanders, all of whom are influencing the course of armed conflicts by enabling support to actors on the ground.

The ICRC practical guide is presented by Thomas Hallier, Head of ICRC’s “Support Relationships in Armed Conflicts” Initiative, followed by a discussion with:

  • Dr Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva
  • Ms Ottilia Anna Maunganidze, Head of Special Projects, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Pretoria
  • Major General (Ret’d) James Chiswell CB CBE MC, Former UK MOD Operations Director

Discussion moderated by Dr Karin von Hippel, Director-General, RUSI.

This event is open to all and will take place online via Zoom and broadcast on this page.

To take part you must pre-register no later than 13 April using the ‘Register Now’ button above.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions, please e-mail Emilia Markert, Events Manager, at:

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Event Manager

Emilia Markert
Events Manager
+44 (0) 20 7747 2648

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