Protecting civilians in armed conflict
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Garance Talks: report on the challenges faced by armed-non-State actors in complying with positive humanitarian norms

29th November 2016 |

Garance Talks 2015

Geneva Call is releasing a report on the first edition of its Garance Talks, which took place in November 2015 in Geneva. Over the course of the day, 14 international experts brainstormed responses to the challenges faced by armed non-State actors (ANSAs) as they attempt to implement their positive obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). Positive obligations include, for example, the obligation to provide education and healthcare services.

Although ANSAs may want to implement these positive obligations, they often lack the capacity or resources to do so. The example of a Syrian ANSA that could not find any support for the reintegration and education of demobilized children was mentioned.

The issue of building ANSAs’ capacities to implement their positive obligations was discussed in this regard. The meeting also dealt with the recognition of how complementary IHL and IHRL are in regulating everyday life for people living under an ANSA’s control.

Participants in this first edition of the Garance Talks included representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International, as well as professors of international law and a representative from a Syrian ANSA. The meeting was sponsored by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

The goal of the Garance Talks is to bring together experts to address the challenges faced by ANSAs attempting to comply with international humanitarian norms. They also bring ANSAs’ perspectives to the discussions and thus complement on-going international processes which do not or cannot involve ANSAs or even address issues related to them.

Download and read the report on the 2015 Garance Talks here.