Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population

“Objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population” is not defined in international humanitarian law, instead, the relevant provisions provide a non-exhaustive list of examples such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.

It is prohibited to attack, destroy or remove such objects or to render them useless for the purpose of denying them, for their sustenance value, to the civilian population, whatever the motive, whether to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other reason.

These prohibitions do not apply if the objects enumerated are used as sustenance solely for the members of the armed forces or for purposes other than sustenance of the civilian population.

They must not be made the object of reprisals.

In recognition of the vital requirements of any party to the conflict in the defence of its national territory against invasion, derogation from the above prohibitions may be made where required by imperative military necessity.