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|Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal|
Obverse of medal and ribbon
|Awarded by Australia|
|Eligibility||members of declared eligible organisations, police and military|
|Awarded for||Humanitarian service overseas|
|Clasps||19 as at 27 January 2014|
|Established||16 April 1999|
|Order of Wear|
|Next (higher)||Police Overseas Service Medal|
|Next (lower)||National Emergency Medal|
|Related||Australian Service Medal|
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal is an award in the Australian honours system. The award is presented to those who perform humanitarian service in a foreign country, in particular those working in dangerous environments or conditions or during a humanitarian crisis. The award was introduced by letters patent on 16 April 1999, following a review of the Australian honours and awards system beginning in 1995.
Potential recipients have to prove they worked for a minimum of 30 days in the location depicted by the clasp, during a period of time set in the award criteria. In addition, potential recipients have to be working for an aid organisation recognised by the criteria or with a United Nations taskforce during that timeframe. In 2005, special criteria were established for people working during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake or the 2005 Nias–Simeulue earthquake, with a maximum time period of 7 or 14 days depending on the time frame.
The medal was originally intended as a civilian award, in parallel with the Australian Service Medal and the Police Overseas Service Medal, and until 2005 the Australian Defence Force had never been declared an eligible organisation. This is because, in most cases, the Australian Service Medal is already available to military personnel serving alongside humanitarian relief operations. However, defence personnel on leave of absence and serving an eligible organisation could qualify for the medal. The declaration of eligible organisations for the Indian Ocean clasp was the first time the Australian Defence Force was declared an eligible organisation, as Operation Sumatra Assist was purely a disaster relief operation and did not attract any military operational service award. The Australian Defence Force was again declared an eligible organisation for the participation of its personnel in Operation Pakistan Assist, part of the Australian humanitarian response to the 8 October 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
As of 30 June 2010, 1,993 awards, including medals and additional clasps, had been made.
Notable recipients of this award include:
Declared eligible organisations must be part of an Australian humanitarian response, or an Australian contingent to an international response. Accordingly, it is possible for non-Australians participating in such a group to be eligible for the medal.