Blog Symposium

Human rights derogations/ restrictions in the time of COVID-19: what is their relevance in situations where an armed group or de facto entity controls territory?

As we scramble to understand how international law governs the COVID-19 crisis, it has been rightfully said that it is important not to forget the hundreds of thousands of people who are living in territories controlled by armed groups. Although international humanitarian law will undoubtedly protect the people living in these territories, some of the …

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From cockroaches to rosebuds: changing the international community’s perception of non-State armed groups

The 2019 ICRC so called ‘Challenges Report’ has identified the ‘proliferation of non?State armed groups’ (NSAG) as being a central feature of ‘the changing geopolitical landscape of the last decade’. It is undeniable that the existence of a multiplicity of NSAG in a given context creates serious challenges for humanitarian and aid organisations, not only …

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Developing international law in territories controlled by armed groups: upholding life-saving conditions – but what about promoting political and legal legitimacy of non-state authority?*

The ICRC’s 2019 report on International Humanitarian Law on Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts identifies the protection of persons living in territory under the control of armed groups as one of the main practical and legal challenges facing IHL, the ICRC and the broader international community today (pp.52-54). These challenges arise inter alia from the …

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Life in rebel territory: is everything war?

Elvina Pothelet is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Geneva. Her dissertation is entitled “Searching for the ‘nexus’: a proposal to refine the scope of applicability of international humanitarian law and war crimes law”. In the past, she worked notably for the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the ICRC and …

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The legal regime protecting persons living in territory under the control of non-State armed groups

Concomitant to the many contemporary non-international armed conflicts and the multiplication of non-State armed groups, a significant number of armed groups exercise de facto control over territory and persons living therein. Such control may take various forms. In some contexts, armed groups exercise military control over territory while State organs continue to be present and …

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Symposium on the Legal Regime Protecting Persons Living Under the Control of Non-State Armed Groups

There are currently some 100 armed conflicts around the world, most of which are non-international in nature, involving one or more non-State armed groups (NSAG). In the course of such conflicts, armed groups frequently gain control over territory and the populations living therein. At times NSAG control is short-lived; at other times it may be …

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