Allies, Partners and Proxies: Managing Support Relationships in Armed Conflict to Reduce the Human Cost of War - Summary

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Armed conflicts feature an ever-growing number of actors organized in overlapping webs of alliances, proxy dynamics and other types of support relationships. And when armed actors fight alongside each other in loose coalitions such as these without adequate planning, coordination and ownership, this can lead to a diffusion of responsibility that heightens the risks to civilians and others not fighting. Yet support relationships also have the potential, exercised or not, to positively influence the protection of civilians and others not fighting in armed conflict. This two-pager provides an overview of the publication Allies, Partners and Proxies: Managing Support Relationships in Armed Conflict to Reduce the Human Cost of War, launched on 14 April 2021, which presents a framework and guiding questions developed by the ICRC to encourage decision makers to take a holistic view of support relationships and their humanitarian impact. The point of this publication is to generate a comprehensive understanding of the stakes involved in support relationships and guide the decision-making process.

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