Event information

5 March 2021, 13:00-14:30

Human Rights Responsibilities of Armed Non-State Actors

Event

Touareg militants driving near Timbuktu, Mali Touareg militants driving near Timbuktu, Mali
OHCHR   DFAE   Geneva Academy CMJN   GHRP logo RVB  

Online Side Event at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council

The pervasiveness of armed non-State actors’ (ANSAs) involvement in armed conflict and other situations of violence worldwide highlights the importance of effectively implementing the existing international legal protections to safeguard the human dignity of individuals, as protected under International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) – irrespective of the status or character of the perpetrators.

The precise extent and content of the legal obligations of ANSAs under IHRL are subject to an evolving discussion among States, academics, civil society and corporate actors. Nonetheless, the international community – including international tribunals, UNGA, UNSC and UN human rights mechanisms – have repeatedly held ANSAs accountable for conduct harming the human rights of individuals and called on States to reaffirm and strengthen the international human rights obligations of ANSAs.

This online side-event to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council follows a joint public statement just issued by a large group of United Nations Special Procedures Mandate Holders. Focusing on armed conflicts and other situations of violence, the joint statement highlights the far-reaching negative human rights impact of ANSAs on rights’ holders and provides recommendations to States and other stakeholders in view of safeguarding the human rights of individuals from transgression on the part of ANSAs.

Co-organized by the Geneva Academy, the Geneva Human Rights Platform, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – mandates of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, it aims at:

  • Recalling human rights norms and standards, including jus cogens norms and non-derogable rights, which must be safeguarded against any perpetrator, including ANSAs regardless of their level of control, organisation or structure;
  • Taking stock of Special Procedures Mandate Holders’ recommendations and interpretation on ANSAs obligations under IHL and IHRL;
  • Identifying challenges in safeguarding human rights in situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence, including through formal and informal channels of engagement with ANSAs;
  • Providing recommendations to States and other stakeholders in view of safeguarding the human rights of individuals from transgressions on the part of ANSAs.

Video

Human Rights Responsibilities of Armed Non-State Actors

This online side-event to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council follows a joint public statement just issued by a large group of United Nations Special Procedures Mandate Holders. Focusing on armed conflicts and other situations of violence, the joint statement highlights the far-reaching negative human rights impact of ANSAs on rights’ holders and provides recommendations to States and other stakeholders in view of safeguarding the human rights of individuals from transgression on the part of ANSAs.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Syria,  Zabadani. A displaced couple return to their home with their daughter. His son and his family will move in once their apartment is restored. News

Our Students’ Say on Contemporary Humanitarian, Human Rights and Transitional Justice Challenges

22 October 2021

In around 20 pages students of our LLM and MAS in Transitional Justice investigated a subject of special interest to them and deepened their knowledge and expertise through research as well as exchanges with experts, scholars and practitioners.

Read more

Syria - Kurdish province - Road to Raqqa. A road sign from the north indicating an important crossroads to come. Raqqa is located in the center of Syria. News

A Field Mission to Syria as Part of a Major Research on Armed Non-State Actors

13 September 2021

Our Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on IHL Dr Annyssa Bellal travelled this summer to North-East Syria with colleagues from Geneva Call – Ezequiel Heffes and Pascal Bongard – as part of the research project she leads that examines the practice and interpretation of ANSAs on core IHL norms.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

Surveillance Camera Project

COUNTER-TERROR PROJECT: A LEGAL EMPIRICAL APPROACH

Started in June 2019

The ‘Counter-Terror Pro LegEm’ project combines legal analysis with social science research to (1) examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their effects on human rights and (2) analyse the structure of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State and see whether they qualify as ‘organized armed groups’ for the purpose of international humanitarian law.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Case Study: The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad, MNLA), Mali

published on March 2021

Annyssa Bellal, Ezequiel Heffes and Pascal Bongard

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Case Study: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia–Ejército del Pueblo (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army, FARC-EP)

published on March 2021

Annyssa Bellal, Ezequiel Heffes and Pascal Bongard

Read more