To what extent is the humanitarian space in armed conflict protected by law?
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The intensity of attacks against the humanitarian space has dramatically increased in the last decade. Due to the rise of incidents the physical and symbolic space for humanitarian actors in situations of armed conflict is shrinking. Many different actors are engaged in the humanitarian space and it is not always clear under which rules they are protected. Simultaneously, in order to enjoy protection provided for by law it is necessary to determine which rules actors have to respect and where legal boundaries are drawn. This thesis analyses the legal instruments that can be applied in order to improve the protection of the humanitarian space in contemporary situations of armed conflicts. Although the term 'humanitarian space' is frequently used it is not even mentioned in the international legal framework. The present legal study seeks to examine to what extent the humanitarian space is protected under the traditional International Humanitarian Law, which has been expanded by customary rules, the codification of war crimes in the Rome Statute and the increasing recognition of the applicability of human rights in armed conflicts.