Let's say one country's army occupies some disputed territory, but they'd don't particularly like the population presently living there.

And let's say that no international/foreign organization has an interest or capability to provide [enough] food in that region, by an interaction of factors.

Is the occupying power itself obligated to provide food for the disliked civilian population? Or can they be like: "not our problem if they have nothing to eat", in international law?


1 Answer 1


According to the MSF

The occupying power has the duty to ensure that the adequate provision of food and medical supplies is provided, as well as clothing, bedding, means of shelter, other supplies essential to the survival of the civilian population of the occupied territory, and objects necessary for religious worship (GCIV Arts. 55, 58; API Art. 69).

Let's see what those articles say. GCIV 55:

To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.

GCIV 58 is about religious stuff.

API is not signed by everyone, but in a nutshell, API 69 says the Occupying Power also has to "ensure the provision of clothing, bedding, means of shelter, other supplies essential to the survival of the civilian population".

MSF even adds this:

The fact that humanitarian organizations are delivering relief in no way relieves the occupying power of any of its own responsibilities to ensure that the population is properly supplied (GCIV Arts. 59–62 and 108–111; API Arts. 69–71).

GCIV Art 59 says that the occupying power must agree to relief consignments if they're needed, and even help them:

If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.

Such schemes, which may be undertaken either by States or by impartial humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.

(The same article also specifies a right for the occupying power to search consignments, to ensure they contain only the above--I'm not quoting that part.)

And GCIV art 60 essentially says the occupying power has to make up the/any difference.

Relief consignments shall in no way relieve the Occupying Power of any of its responsibilities under Articles 55, 56 and 59. [...]

GCIV Art 56 is about healthcare, by the way.


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