Through academic research and partnerships ...
Engage in cutting edge research on central dilemmas and challenges of international humanitarian law and policy
Through expert analysis and policy recommendations
Bridging research and practice through critical analysis of dilemmas of law in action, and crafting policy recommendations for organizations working to protect civilians in armed conflict
Through engagement and mobilization of professionals
Build core competencies and critical skills through professional development and the engagement with practitioner communities in humanitarian action
Through advisory services and engagement with policy makers
Engage and support policy makers and their organizations to address humanitarian challenges, including by thinking critically and strategically about the role of law in protecting civilians in armed conflict transforming institutions

advancing the protection of civilians in armed conflict


Featured Research


Recent scientific and technological advances have given rise to unprecedented means and methods of warfare. Some of these new technologies — such as observation and combat drones — are already in use, while others — for example, nanotechnologies, combat robots, and laser weapons — are still in experimental stages.

These developments have, and will continue to, profoundly change the ways that modern actors engage in armed conflict. On the one hand, these technologies can not only limit civilian losses but also can spare the lives of combatants. On the other hand, certain features of these new technologies raise unprecedented issues that make the legality of an attack more difficult to ascertain and the attri...

Presented in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières

Despite the Yemeni Government’s commitment to the 2014 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan and ongoing efforts toward a sustainable political transition, the country’s humanitarian situation remains dire. As Yemen struggles to sustain a series of ceasefires, strengthen its central authority, and provide humanitarian assistance to its population, violence between Yemen’s armed forces and various armed groups threatens to destabilize an already fragile transition.

According to Mr. Ismail Ould Cheic...

The World Disaster Report (WDR) 2013 examines the profound impact of technological innovations on humanitarian action, how humanitarians employ technology in new and creative ways, and what risks and opportunities may emerge as a result of technological innovations. The responsible use of technology offers concrete ways to make humanitarian assistance more effective, efficient and accountable and can, in turn, directly reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience.

Finding ways to leverage advances in technology to serve the most vulnerable is a moral imperative; a responsibility, not a choice.

On the evening of October 17th IFRC, HHI, and the American Chapter of the Red Cross will publi...

About Us

The Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research is an international research and policy program based at the Harvard School of Public Health. The Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to new challenges in the field of humanitarian affairs. Key sectors of activity include:

Human security - a complement to state-centric security models with a focus on individual and community needs as an important guarantor for sustainable peace and stability
Conflict management - theoretical and operational strategies to contain and resolve hostilities persisting between state parties and/or non-state actors
International humanitarian law - deriving from the Hague Regulations, the Geneva Conventions, and the Additional Protocols, a set of rules intended to regulate the conduct and effects of armed conflict.