Experts examine humanitarian challenges arising from urban violence

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Brussels (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the European Union Institute for Security Studies are holding a joint colloquium in Brussels today entitled "Urban Violence and Humanitarian Challenges."

"Gang violence in megacities and other kinds of urban violence present new challenges to policy makers and humanitarian organizations alike," said Angela Gussing, deputy director of operations at the ICRC. "These kinds of violence in urban settings sometimes result in significant humanitarian needs that differ from those stemming from armed conflict or natural disasters."

Colloquium participants are reviewing pilot projects that have been set up to address the humanitarian needs that result from organized crime and gang violence in very large cities. In addition, they are examining the humanitarian challenges arising from civil unrest, especially the Arab protests.

"These concrete examples will enable the humanitarian community to develop a more comprehensive understanding of both needs and responses, of what may work and what may have to be re-evaluated," said François Bellon, the head of the ICRC delegation for the European Union, NATO and Belgium.

By organizing this colloquium, the ICRC and the European Union Institute for Security Studies hope to contribute to the debate and spur further interest in this increasingly important issue.

For further information, please contact: Thomas Vanden Driessche, ICRC Brussels, tel: +32 2 286 58 70