Event information

4 November 2020, 10:00-10:50

Taking Armed Non-State Actors Into Account: An Assessment of their Humanitarian Commitments


Ceremony for Colombian Ceasefire Agreement, Havana, June 2016 Ceremony for Colombian Ceasefire Agreement, Havana, June 2016
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That compliance with international law in armed conflict faces challenges from different quarters is not new. Enforcement and compliance are indeed the Achilles heel of this legal regime.

Considering these difficulties, the international community has called for a more sustained engagement of armed non-State actors (ANSAs) on pressing humanitarian issues. Yet while it is undisputed that these entities are bound by IHL, how they understand, interpret or are able to implement these rules has not yet been systematically explored. ANSAs' views and practices, indeed, have generally been neglected in the development of tools to actually engage them. Interestingly, during peace or cease-fire negotiations, ANSAs may be more open to discussing humanitarian issues. This can be explained by analyzing a variety of issues, such as the goals of the actor at that given time.

Understanding armed non-state actors' views on humanitarian norms is key to a better engagement of these actors, notably during peace negotiations.

This online session during the 2020 Geneva Peace Week, co-organized with Geneva Call, will discuss the preliminary results of a research project conducted in collaboration with Geneva Call on two groups that have been involved in peace processes, the FARC in Colombia and the MNLA in Mali.


  • Anne de Riedmatten, Head of the Humanitarian Affairs Section, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva


  • Annyssa Bellal, Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law, Geneva Academy
  • Pascal Bongard, Head of the Policy and Legal Unit, Geneva Call
  • Ezequiel Heffes, Legal Advisor, Geneva Call