16 January 2023
He just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of March.
Throughout my work in de-radicalization and reintegration of defectors and prisoners formerly involved with violent extremist groups, such as Al-Shabaab, Houthis, and Jamaah Ansharut Daulah on the ground, I have identified a critical need for a legal framework or international norms to govern their defection.
If they are children, there are ample opportunities for them to receive care as victims due to the presence of robust international norms. Most of these individuals, however, are ‘youth’ between the ages of 18 and 29, even if they are currently combatants of non-state armed actors. While ‘youth’ in other parts of the world are typically expected and supported to become future leaders, those associated with such armed groups have been largely overlooked in both policy and practice, despite the fact that many of them were forced to join these groups in the past.
To initiate a serious examination of the necessary norms that must be established for these marginalized youths, I believe that the Geneva Academy is the best venue, owing to its highly advanced expertise in international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights.
My research question pertains to the identification of the specific forms of protection and empowerment that are crucial for youths currently involved with non-state armed groups, including terrorist organizations. This will be followed by subsequent research on the means by which such protection and empowerment can be realized.
In addition to the plethora of studies on child soldiers in non-state armed groups, including terrorist organizations, there has been a growing number of policy proposals in recent years regarding youths who have left such groups. However, research on youths currently involved in such groups remains significantly scarce. Additionally, while there have been efforts to advocate for compliance with IHL against these groups, as well as studies on the necessity and dilemmas involved in such compliance, there has been a lack of consideration given to the rights of these youths and the empowerment they require. To address the ongoing armed conflicts, particularly those involving violent extremist groups, new and innovative approaches toward these youths are urgently needed.
Given the fact that we, human beings, have yet to find a definitive solution to armed conflicts involving violent extremist organizations and global terrorism, I posit that creating a space for members of such groups to break free from the chains of hatred and take their life as ‘youth’ back is a crucial key to achieving a more peaceful world. This research will significantly contribute to the establishment of a foundation for the creation of new international norms that facilitate such actions.
I expect to have discussions with experts in Geneva to refine my ideas and determine the next steps necessary to realize my current thinking. Furthermore, I aim to share my research and thoughts with the broader community beyond Geneva in order to elicit further feedback and advice from experts in the world.
Our new Research Paper presents a comprehensive examination of the realities faced by 'Youth Associated with Non-State Armed Groups'.
Half of the class of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – 20 students – pleaded on Sunday 20 May at Villa Moynier on the 2008 South Ossetia armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.
The Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform will take place in New York to explore the links between Geneva and New York, the relevance of Geneva's outputs in New York debates, and the implications for human rights.
This annual conference co-organized with the University of Essex provides a space for experts and practitioners, diplomats, academics, young scholars and civil society representatives to discuss contemporary legal issues in armed conflict.
This online short course will examine the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL), as well as the threshold criteria for its applicability in an armed conflict
This online short course provides an in-depth study of an emblematic example of the complexity of international humanitarian law and the challenges it raises: the classification of armed conflicts.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.
UN Photo/Violaine Martin
The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.