Armed Groups and International Humanitarian Law: Practical Alternatives to Ensure its Respect in Conflict Settings


Despite the fact that international humanitarian law (IHL) undisputedly binds States and non-State armed groups (NSAGs) in conflict settings, ensuring the respect of the rules contained therein still remains an important challenge for the international community. When dealing with NSAGs, this challenge can be linked to several factors, such as their lack of knowledge of IHL, their fragmented structure, their lack of a centralized command and control authority and their lack of capacity to implement some of the applicable IHL rules. Certain humanitarian organizations have attempted to tackle these difficulties by recognizing that engaging with NSAGs on IHL-related issues is essential to enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

The presentation will share the work and activities of Geneva Call (, an international non-governmental organization, when trying to persuade NSAGs to respect IHL. Since its creation in 2000, Geneva Call has engaged in a constructive dialogue with more than 150 NSAGs from all around the world, obtaining humanitarian commitments on the prohibition of using and recruiting children in hostilities, the use of antipersonnel mines and the protection of health care and education, and monitoring the respect of these instruments.

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Date and Location

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm