Posts Tagged ‘armed conflict’

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights upgrades it armed conflict portal

February 18, 2017

Homepage of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Portal

This version entails new and updated armed conflicts, as well as a map allowing visitors to search armed conflicts and parties to these conflicts via multiple filters. ‘The map offers visitors a more intuitive approach: they can visualize where conflicts take place and where parties to these conflicts are’ underlines Sandra Krähenmann, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. ‘We clearly see, via the map, that while most armed conflicts are taking place in the Middle East and on the African continent,, parties to these conflicts are from across the world’ she adds.

As a legal reference source for a broad audience, RULAC is regularly updated to integrate new armed conflicts and developments. Today, RULAC monitors more than 13 situations of armed conflicts: 2 military occupations, 2 situations of international armed conflicts and 9 situations of non-international armed conflicts. These conflicts are taking place in 9 countries: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen.

For each armed conflict, RULAC provides the factual and methodological basis for its classification, and identifies the parties and the applicable international law. The portal also includes sections on the definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL and the legal framework governing armed conflicts.

Armed Conflict in Syria

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question whether a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL has important consequences. States involved in armed conflicts have rights and duties that do not exist in times of peace. The classification of situations of armed violence is fraught with difficulties. Many states deny that they are involved in armed conflicts, arguing instead that they are engaged in counter-terrorism operations. Others apply IHL to situations that do not amount to an armed conflict. Moreover, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly complex due to the multitude of state and non-state parties involved. Based on open source information, RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment that identifies situations of armed conflict under IHL. It is intended to assist other actors that may want to classify situations of armed violence for their purposes. By making such information available to a broad, non-specialist audience, including by using visual tools, the RULAC project strives to promote a more coherent approach classifying conflicts, and, ultimately, to foster implementation of the applicable legal framework, a key element for accountability and the protection of victims.

Source: Detail – The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Destruction of cultural heritage is also an attack on human rights defenders

October 31, 2016

When cultural heritage is under attack, it is also the people and their fundamental human rights that are under attack, a United Nations expert warned the UN General Assembly, issuing an urgent call to step up international action against the destruction of heritage such as monuments, historic sites and sacred places, reports Just Earth News on 28 October 2016.

Destruction of cultural heritage is an attack on people and their fundamental rights – UN expert
 Destruction of cultural heritage is an attack on people and their fundamental rights – UNESCO
Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali and Syria are all in our minds on Thursday, but many more countries are to be added to this list, where acts of intentional destruction harm all, target free thinkers and disproportionately affect people belonging to minorities,” the UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, stressed in her briefing to the General Assembly’s Third Committee.

According to Special Rapporteur, in order to protect cultural heritage, including precious monuments, sites and sacred places, the first step that has to be taken is protecting human rights and people. “Destruction is often accompanied by other grave assaults on human dignity and human rights. We must care not only about the destruction of heritage, but also about the destruction of the lives of human beings. They are interrelated,” Bennoune stated…

…At the end of her report, the Special Rapporteur paid tribute to all those who had sacrificed their lives to preserve world’s cultural heritage. “In many cases we must consider cultural heritage professionals on the frontlines of the struggle against destruction as human rights defenders,” Bennoune stated, adding that it is vital that we ensure their safety and security, grant them asylum, and create necessary work conditions for them.

Source: Destruction of cultural heritage is an attack on people and their fundamental rights – UN expert | Indiablooms – First Portal on Digital News Management

Profile of Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo: an amazingly courageous doctor

April 12, 2016

Dr Denis Mukwege is a surgeon and the most prominent human rights defender from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He won several international awards as detailed in earlier posts [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/congolese-gynecologist-wins-europes-sakharov-prize-in-2014/https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/human-rights-first-honors-doctor-denis-mukwege-in-washington-on-21-october/]. He was in Geneva on the occasion of the 2016 International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights for the screening of the documentary film The Man Who Mends Women. The ISHR met with Mukwege on 31 March 2016 and published the following profile with details of his grassroots activities to defend women’s dignity and of the threats he faces due to his work: Dr. Denis Mukwege

Read the rest of this entry »

Geneva Call: even armed groups can adhere to humanitarian standards

September 17, 2015

In this short video produced by True Heroes Films (THF) spokespeople for armed non-state actors explain why they feel they have to adhere to humanitarian standards. The definition of human rights defenders excludes those who advocate or use violence but the importance of them respecting basic standards is a crucial, long-term issue.

This Geneva Call short video features 13 high-level representatives of armed non-State actors (ANSAs) from 10 countries, including Syria, Burma/Myanmar and Sudan. In it, they explain why they think it is so important to enter into a dialogue with Geneva Call on humanitarian norms and the protection of civilian populations.  Although ANSAs are responsible for violations of humanitarian norms in many conflicts, it is possible to engage them in a dialogue about respecting those norms.

It is in ANSAs’ interests to respect humanitarian norms, not only to gain support from populations in the areas they control but also to maintain a good reputation. Complying with humanitarian norms often sits well with the political or religious values that are at the root of their struggle, and compliance can make them more credible interlocutors when peace negotiations take place.

These statements were filmed at Geneva Call’s Third Meeting of Signatories in November 2014. This meeting in Geneva brought together 70 high-level representatives of 36 ANSAs from 14 different countries.

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/fighter-not-killer-application-now-available-from-geneva-call/

3 July in Geneva: book launch “Conduct of Hostilities, the Practice, the Law and the Future”

June 23, 2015

The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (San Remo) is about to celebrate its 45th anniversary. In the context of its 15th Summer Course on International Humanitarian Law, it organizes a Book Launch to introduce the Proceedings of its last Round Table:  “Conduct of Hostilities, the Practice, the Law and the Future”. The launch is held on Friday 3 July 2015 at the United Nations Library in Geneva from 11 am to 1 pm.
In addition to the President if the IIHL, Professor, Fausto Pocar, and the Vice-President, Prof. Michel Veuthey, the following panelists will participate:

– Professor Marco Sassòli, Director, Department of International Law and International Organizations, University of Geneva (UNIGE)
– Mr. Laurent Gisel, Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
– Dr. Nils Melzer, Senior Adviser, Security Policy Division of the Political Directorate, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

The Institute’s next Round Table will focus on the important topic: The Distinction between International and Non-International Armed Conflicts:
Challenges for IHL? , to be held in San Remo between 3rd and 5th September 2015.

Please register for the UN Pass (required for this event) by Thursday 1 July at  http://bit.ly/1d3Mzth

FIGHTER, NOT KILLER application now available from Geneva Call

May 21, 2015

On 13 May 2015, I announced the mobile application FIGHTER, NOT KILLER by Geneva Call [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/fighter-not-killer-quiz/]. The app is now available from their website (both for apple and android).

The app aims to raise awareness of the law of war among combatants, commanders, officers, political leaders and civilian populations. The quiz has two levels of difficulty and 28 scenarios. Users are faced with true-to-life situations and questions related to war tactics, assisting the wounded, the use of certain weapons, child protection or the conduct of hostilities. If they answer correctly, users can access Commander Level; here they will be confronted with more intricate scenarios, but they will receive a certificate of achievement if they are successful.

As warring parties have rarely received a basic training, have varying levels of education and are located in remote areas, this application will try, at least partially, to overcome these difficulties.

Geneva Call | FIGHTER, NOT KILLER: A mobile application to raise awareness of the law of war among armed groups – Geneva Call.