A new medal to recognize people who have responded selflessly during or after a major humanitarian crisis has been announced by the British government.
The Humanitarian Medal will be awarded to staff in public service organizations 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.
The Humanitarian Medal will be awarded to those who have responded to emergencies both abroad and in the U.K., 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 organizations following the outbreak of Ebola across West Africa in 2015, which the U.K. marked with a bespoke Ebola Medal.
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 U.K. government will be eligible.
The design, which has been approved by His Majesty The King, features laurel wreaths symbolizing 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 organizations. 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.