- Deputy Prime Minister unveils a new medal for those who respond to humanitarian crises such as conflict and natural disasters.
- Medal one of the first new awards to be approved by His Majesty The King, on advice from the government.
A new medal to recognise people who have responded selflessly during or after a major humanitarian crisis has been announced by the government today.
The Humanitarian Medal will be awarded to staff in public service organisations and charities, who respond in support of human welfare or in the immediate aftermath of a crisis.
Recipients will be people who have responded to major humanitarian disasters, such as those who have provided disaster relief or helped those in need in conflict zones.
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said:
Britain has a long and proud tradition of being first in line to help those in need, wherever they may be in the world.
This new medal is a fitting tribute to our humanitarian heroes who put the needs of others before their own, often in the most challenging or dangerous environments.
The UK has consistently been a world leader in providing humanitarian assistance.
The Humanitarian Medal will be awarded to those who have responded to emergencies both abroad and in the UK, including:
- Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and floods
- Conflict related crises
- Biological emergencies, such as an epidemic
- Large industrial accidents
An example of the kind of service which the medal will recognise is the work by civilian and military organisations following the outbreak of Ebola across West Africa in 2015, which the UK marked with a bespoke Ebola Medal.
International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said:
At a time when the world faces increasing crises, this new Humanitarian Medal recognises the unsung humanitarian heroes who go above and beyond to provide aid when disasters hit.
I applaud the efforts of those who show such courage and serve as inspiration in a range of desperate situations.
Our work around the world depends on these extraordinary people, and this award honours their outstanding contribution in responding to a major crisis.
The new medal will be similar to a military operational medal, in which it will seek to acknowledge service given in response to a specific event.
Civil servants, charity workers, as well as military personnel, the emergency services, such as the police and heath workers, working on behalf of the UK Government will be eligible.
The design, which has been approved by HM The King, features laurel wreaths symbolising victory in overcoming a crisis, interwoven with a banner proclaiming “For humanitarian service”. The obverse will bear an effigy of His Majesty The King.
The ribbon design reflects the different paths for humanitarian service and the variety of services involved in such responses. The ribbon has a central stripe of white to represent civilians and peace, with four narrow stripes on either side of red, light blue, dark blue and purple. Red represents humanitarian organisations. Dark blue and purple represent the other services.
Government departments will be responsible for developing recommendations for use of the medal to the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals. Recommendations for medal awards will then be submitted to approval for His Majesty The King.
The government is committed to making sure honours represent the length and breadth of the country, celebrating the fantastic contribution of people from every corner of the UK.