International Humanitarian Law and Current Conflicts: New Dilemmas and Challenges for Humanitarian Organizations

October 29, 2001 - 9:00am - November 2, 2001 - 5:00pm
Meredith, NH, United States


HPCR co-sponsored with the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), and with the cooperation of the Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School, an advanced seminar on “International Humanitarian Law and Current Conflicts: New Dilemmas and Challenges for Humanitarian Organizations.” The five-day seminar (29 October –2 November 2001) involved distinguished faculty from the sponsoring and cooperating institutions, as well as invited experts from the UN, NGOs, the media, and the military. 28 mid-to senior level participants were selected from humanitarian and human rights organizations worldwide, including representatives of Oxfam, ICRC, International Rescue Committee, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, U.S. Agency for International Development, UNICEF, Action Contre la Faim, Médecins Sans Frontières, and International Medical Corps. The seminar provided participants with an opportunity to consider the relevance of international humanitarian law (IHL), largely developed in the context of interstate conflict, in light of current realities, and to develop strategies for negotiating the new intrastate conflict terrain. Sessions addressed such wide-ranging topics as multilateral interventions in humanitarian emergencies, engaging non-state actors, humanitarian negotiations, and the tension between individual accountability and communal reconciliation in the post-conflict environment. The success of this first collaboration has led Harvard and the ICRC to consider making the seminar an annual event.

In partnership with:

The Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School fosters course work and participation of students in human rights activities through its summer fellowships, clinical work, speaker series, applied research and scholarship.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties (signatories) to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts.