1.1 What civil-military relations are

Civil-military relations’ (civ-mil) is the term used by humanitarian agencies to describe interactions between humanitarian and military operations, including coexistence, coordination and cooperation. Decisions to work with military forces are informed by circumstances and change over time. CARE must ensure that there is no compromise of our principles (independence, impartiality and neutrality) and obligations in any interaction with military forces.

In both natural disasters and conflict, CARE often finds itself working with or near military actors, including non-state armed groups, state forces and international operations. In natural disaster situations, military forces often support relief operations. The relations between military forces-including peacekeeping operations-and humanitarian agencies can have serious implications for our acceptance among local populations and the belligerents (a belligerent is any state or non-state actor perceived to be an active party to a given conflict). The safety and security of aid workers, beneficiaries and programmes can be undermined if local communities or fighting parties perceive that a humanitarian agency’s independence, impartiality and neutrality are compromised.