Mitigating humanitarian crises during non-international armed conflicts: the role of human rights and ceasefire agreements

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Situations of humanitarian crisis are often caused by armed conflicts. Given the prevalence of non-international armed conflicts today, ways of ameliorating these situations are at the forefront of concerns. The international humanitarian law rules governing non-international armed conflict remain much less developed than those for international armed conflicts. This is exacerbated by the lack of direct human rights obligations for non-state armed groups, which makes governing the behaviour of non-state parties to non-international armed conflicts (non-state armed groups) even more challenging. Although several initiatives have been taken to encourage non-state actors to mitigate situations of humanitarian crisis, the role of human rights law is in need of further clarification. The paper aims to assess what role human rights may have in improving humanitarian crises, suggesting one specific way: The paper will first discuss the international laws applicable to situations of non-international armed conflict, before critically analysing some of the initiatives that have already been taken to govern the behaviour of non-state armed groups. Part 3 will assess the possibility of using cease-fire agreements to impose specific human rights obligations on all parties to a non-international armed conflict. Finally, a conclusion will be drawn in Part 4 as to the role that human rights and ceasefire agreements could have during humanitarian crises.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of International Humanitarian Action
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1-Mar-2016
EventAssociation for Human Rights Institutions Conference, ‘Human Rights under Pressure: Exploring norms, institutions and policies' - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 29-Sept-201430-Sept-2014


  • Humanitarian crisis, Economic, social and cultural rights, Non-state armed groups, Ceasefire agreements


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