Meeting Notes - April 12, 2011
Humanitarian Engagement with Nonstate Armed Groups: Enhancing the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
Reno Meyer, rapporteur
This meeting note captures the panel discussion that took place on July 20, 2010 entitled “Humanitarian Engagement with Nonstate Armed Groups: Enhancing the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.”
The discussion took place at IPI in the aftermath of the UN Security Council’s July 7, 2010, open debate on the protection of civilians. It brought together more than ninety representatives of member states, the UN Secretariat, and nongovernmental organizations to discuss the value of and best practices for engaging with nonstate armed groups to move them toward compliance with international humanitarian law.
Geneva Call, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the International Peace Institute (IPI) co-hosted the event with the support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
From the Executive Summary:
In today’s armed conflicts, humanitarian actors are increasingly challenged by the presence and proliferation of nonstate armed groups (NSAGs). In many cases, NSAGs exert control over territories and populations. However, their knowledge of and respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights standards are often limited. Under these circumstances, direct engagement with NSAGs is crucial for the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The panelists, all experienced field practitioners, presented concrete examples where engagement with NSAGs resulted in increased protection of civilians, such as the ban on anti-personnel mines, immunization of children, and release of hostages.
The diversity and fragmentation of NSAGs, shifting control over territory, and lack of cooperation by affected states pose serious challenges for humanitarian actors and demand a certain degree of pragmatism and flexibility.
In order to improve the response to these challenges, increased understanding of the motivations and capacities of NSAGs for complying with IHL is required. A neutral and purely humanitarian agenda is also key to building successful relationships with all parties. The panelists further emphasized the importance of involving local civil-society actors in the engagement process and making strategic use of the comparative advantages of UN agencies and NGOs. Panelists urged member states to support, or at least not to obstruct, efforts by humanitarian actors to engage NSAGs, in order to seek improved protection for civilians, and they stressed that such efforts do not affect the legal or political status of NSAGs.
Read more about the panel discussion >>
The Global Observatory
Can Russia Reshape Ukraine Without Firing a Shot?
To protect its interests, Russia is pushing for the federalization of Ukraine through economic influence and propaganda, but use of force could still be possible.
Key Global Events to Watch in April
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
April 05, 2014
IPI Opens Middle East Regional Office
International Peace Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen inaugurated IPI’s new Middle East Regional Office with a recognition of the area’s critical importance to the world and the rapid political changes underway in the countries of the region, and he asserted that IPI has an “important role” to play there.
March 26, 2014
Derek Plumbly on Lebanese Resilience Amid Rising Challenges
Lebanon has exceeded expectations in dealing with the continuing fallout from the crisis in neighboring Syria, said Derek Plumbly, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, on March 26th. Speaking at the International Peace Institute, Mr. Plumbly praised the Lebanese people for “actually sustaining a measure of stability in their country.”
March 25, 2014
Adebajo, Panel Discuss African and African-American Nobel Peace Laureates
The ten Africans and three African-Americans who have won the Nobel Peace Prize comprise a complex group of peace leaders, said Adekeye Adebajo, Executive Director of Centre for Conflict Resolution, on March 25th. He spoke as part of a panel at the International Peace Institute’s launch of Africa’s Peacemakers, Nobel Laureates of African Descent, edited by Mr. Adebajo.
April 18, 2014
Technology and Conflict Topic of Build Peace Conference
April 17, 2014
Video: The Limits of Partnership
April 10, 2014
Video: Is Humanitarian Law Still Fit for Purpose?