New Humanitarian Medal to honour frontline relief workers in UK

New Humanitarian Medal to honour frontline relief workers in UK
Courtesy: Cabinet Office, UK

A new Humanitarian Medal will honour those who provide humanitarian relief under emergency situations in the wake of natural disasters and conflicts around the world.

The UK Cabinet Office laid out plans for the new medal over the weekend which reveal that it will be awarded to those involved in what are classed as “Serious Emergency (Level 2)” or “Catastrophic Emergency (Level 3)” situations. It will be awarded to those in public service and members of organisations that contribute on behalf of the UK government, such as charities which respond in support of human welfare during or in the aftermath of a crisis, in combating a life-threatening crisis, providing disaster relief or aid provision in Britain and abroad.

The Cabinet Office said: “Organisations eligible for the Medal will have been deployed on behalf of, formally funded by or formally endorsed by HM (His Majesty’s) Government. Organisations such as charities that attend an incident uninvited by HM Government will not be eligible.”

A Level 2 Serious Emergency will cover one which has, or threatens, a wide and/or prolonged impact requiring sustained central government co­ordination and support from a number of departments and agencies, usually including the regional tier in England and where appropriate, the devolved administrations. The central government response to such an emergency would be  co­ordinated from the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR),  under the leadership of the lead government department.

A Level 3 Catastrophic Emergency will cover one which has an exceptionally high and potentially widespread impact and requires immediate central government direction and support. Characteristics might include a top­-down response in circumstances where the local response had been overwhelmed, or the use of emergency powers were required.

According to the Cabinet Office Command Paper for the new medal, there will be no public nomination process for the Humanitarian Medal. The process will involve government departments developing a case for the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, which is the UK’s official policy committee for the honours system. This could then lead to a recommendation being made to His Majesty the King for the medal to be awarded. A clasp will be used to designate each use of the medal.


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All qualifying service must be either:

·       Frontline service – eligible recipients must have had direct contact with those whom they seek to assist, that is, the affected group or population;

·       People-facing – service must focus on human welfare, a primary emphasis on people will always be essential. Service to preserve institutions etc can be considered via other forms of recognition; and/or

·       In direct support of the affected population – those operating with rigour to deliver operational effect which directly influences or impacts on the operational area without being subject to direct personal risk.

Qualifying service should include at least one of the following:

·       Hazardous service – Conditions which are unsafe (war zones, areas affected by natural disasters); insecure (threats to life, whether natural, biological or human); rapidly changing; or at heightened risk (from ongoing natural disasters, increased exposure to potential harm);

·       Sustained service – People who gave a long-term frontline service in response to the emergency of which conditions were on-going rather than immediate; and/or

·       Significant service – Persons who contributed in direct response to the emergency, assisted with the protection of lives and property and performed extraordinarily. This may be shorter in duration but characterised by a particularly serious immediate threat to life.


New Humanitarian Medal to honour frontline relief workers in UK
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