Under the provisions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) conflict-affected and displaced populations, including the vulnerable ones (women and girls, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities), must have unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance and protection at all times, regardless of their place of residence.

From the very first weeks of the conflict, humanitarian organizations have been providing vital assistance to the affected population on an every day basis: food and other essential commodities, pharmaceutical drugs, medical examinations and treatment, mental health and psychosocial support, legal aid, water supply, repair of damaged infrastructure and residential buildings, etc. This assistance is especially important for people living in isolated settlements with no transport connections or in territories where the security has been compromised due to regular shelling, landmine contamination etc., and where access to trade facilities, banking institutions, social services, hospitals, and schools has been complicated.

However, insecurity, legislative and bureaucratic challenges, as well as negative political perceptions continue to hamper aid workers’ ability to reach the conflict-affected people with assistance and protection services.

While international and non-governmental organizations (among them ‒ members of the Ukraine NGO Forum) do their best to deliver aid where they can, for their humanitarian assistance and protection services to reach every man, woman and child, they need predictable, safe and sustainable operational environment, across all parts of conflict-affected areas, under the provisions of IHL. In this regard, procedures and process of accessing NGCA (and in a number of instances ‒ the ‘grey zone’ in GCA as well) shall be facilitated for humanitarian and development NGOs.