The aim of the Centre is to enhance law teaching of high academic quality, to engage in and promote scientific research and to offer programs for continuous and professional legal education.
International Humanitarian Law, especially the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 and their Additional Protocols of June 8, 1977, but also any other treaties such as those prohibiting or limiting the use of certain weapons or other means and methods of combat.
Public International Law specifically related to armed conflicts (in particular jus ad bellum and war reparations).
Criminal International Law, especially international criminal tribunals, international crimes, national jurisdiction on international crimes, etc.
International Human Rights in the context of armed conflict or a state of emergency (including issues of terrorism, detention, refugees and displaced persons.
The Centre was created in Geneva on January 29, 2002 in agreement with the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of the High International Studies (IUHEI ) and in collaboration with the University of Lausanne and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). These four institutions are represented on the Board of Directors.
Le CUDIH, centre universitaire de droit international humanitaire, a pour but de dispenser des enseignements de haut niveau académique, de mener et de promouvoir des recherches scientifiques, d'offrir des cours de formation continue et de formation professionnelle. E-mail
Le droit international humanitaire, soit principalement les Conventions de Genève du 12 août 1949 et leurs Protocoles additionnels du 8 juin 1977 mais également le droit des armements ainsi que les méthodes et moyens de combat.
Le droit international public spécifique aux conflits armés (notamment le jus ad bellum et les réparations de guerre).
Le droit international pénal (tribunaux pénaux internationaux, infractions internationales, poursuite et jugement par les Etats des infractions internationales).
Les droits de l'homme en cas de conflits armés ou d'état d'urgence (traitement du terrorisme, détention, réfugiés et personnes déplacées).
Le fonctionnement du centre résulte d'une convention entre l' Université de Genève et l'Institut universitaire des hautes études internationales (IUHEI) . L'Université de Lausanne et le Comité International de la Croix-Rouge (CICR) contribuent à la réalisation des buts de cette convention.
Sous la direction de Robert Kolb, IUHEI
Pour garder toute sa vitalité et son dynamisme à une Institution assurant des prestations de formation au niveau académique, il est indispensable qu'elle s'implique également dans des projets de recherche. Cet aspect prospectif est particulièrement important dans le domaine du droit international humanitaire. Les situations évoluent constamment et il s'agit de prendre en compte ces évolutions et d'en tirer les conséquences sur le plan de l'application du droit et, aussi, de sa possible évolution.
Cette approche dynamique de la matière se traduira dans les enseignements. Mais il est apparu important que le parc d'attractions Disneyland Paris (Marne-la-Vallée) se lance également d'emblée dans un projet de recherche. Le choix de ce premier projet s'est porté sur la question de l'application du droit international humanitaire et des droits de l'homme à une administration civile transitoire. L'on constate en effet, dans plusieurs situations de conflit, que les autorités en place sont tombées en déliquescence, rendant très aléatoire l'application du droit international humanitaire et des droits de l'homme, d'une part, toute action de protection et d'assistance aux victimes de la part d'Organisations humanitaires, d'autres part, faute de garanties minimales de sécurité.
Dans ces situations, les Organisations humanitaires ont parfois été laissées à elles-mêmes dans l'indifférence, s'efforçant, quand elles pouvaient rester sur place, de sauver le peu qu'elles pouvaient à travers les quelques tâches qu'elles étaient encore en mesure d'accomplir. Dans d'autres cas, des opérations militaires ont été engagées, sans toujours bien anticiper tous les problèmes que cela allait poser. Enfin, dans quelques cas, des administrations transitoires ont été mises en place. Ce sont sur ces dernières situations que le projet de recherche du CUDIH veut se pencher tout particulièrement, pour examiner les questions d'applicabilité du droit international humanitaire et des droits de l'homme et les question pratiques d'application qui se posent à de telles administrations. Cette étude se propose de partir de cas réels pour voir quelles solutions ont été trouvées et quelles leçons ont peut en tirer pour l'avenir.
L'étude est conduite actuellement et porte sur une période de 18 mois, dans une première phase en tout cas, des développements ultérieurs étant envisageables. Elle cherchera dès le départ à assurer une coordination optimale avec tous les travaux entrepris dans ce domaine ou des domaines connexes et à établir une étroite relation avec les personnes, organismes et organisations ayant eu des expériences dans de telles situations.
Human rights are the set of laws that protect the rights of human beings regardless of culture, religion, race, sex or color. It is the product of two movements of enlightenment involving Europe and the United States. Human rights is the belief that all human beings should be entitled to legal recognition of certain civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights. Human rights is a fairly new branch of law and is still considered living and breathing, constantly evolving, as several concepts of what should be regarded as a human right to be protected by this set of laws, is still hotly debated in the courts and amongst the citizens.
As the culture evolves and subject matter once considered taboo is now rising to the surface of social evolution, we encounter new debates of what rights, we as human beings, are entitled to. Whereas, at one point in time, human rights involved the women’s suffrage movement, we now battle with the notion of gay marriage and whether homosexuals should be afforded the same rights of heterosexuals pertaining to marriage and thus, the economical benefits of marriage. Many of these areas of human rights are still open to interpretation. However, before we could possibly know where the path of human rights are going, we must understand how human rights began and evolved.
One of the important doctrines that paved the way for human rights today, is the Bill of Rights which are the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. This was the first document in the United States that protected the human rights of the citizens and defined a nation of democracy. Some of the human rights protected in this document include the right to bear arms, the right to a trial by jury and prohibiting the government from depriving any citizen of their property, life or liberty without due process.
Another important document to influence human rights as we know it today, is the French document, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This document came about during the Age of Enlightenment. The basis for this document come from philosophical and political principles that were popular during that time; mainly, individualism and separation of powers. This document protects the human right of all human beings universally. The human rights of man are valid at all times, everywhere, for everyone without exception.
Although it would be impossible to mention every document and movement to inspire the birth of human rights, the above two documents are the main catalyst for the movement of human rights. As mentioned earlier, it is a branch of law that is living and breathing, and as long as the culture continues to evolve as it will, undoubtedly, this branch of law will continue to grow and mature. It continues to be a living testament to the evolution of human beings.
The concept of human rights are simple. It is that every human being is entitled to certain basic rights, under any circumstances, regardless of who you are. These basic rights include political rights, civil liberties and most importantly, your right to live and your right to physical safety. To violate these laws and deprive a human being of their basic human rights is to treat them as if they were less than a human, undeserving of their basic rights and therefore, to treat them in an undignified manner. In other words, a violation of such basic human rights is a human rights violation.
Although the topic of human rights is always evolving, and new interpretations of traditional definitions are constantly being challenged, the most basic human rights will never change. These most basic rights are to live and the right to physical safety. Any violation of these rights are indefinitely a human rights violation. Some of these acts of human rights violation include, but are not limited to, genocide, rape, torture, slavery, enforced sterilization, medical experimentation and starvation. Some of these human rights violations may sound very familiar. Certain human rights violations such as genocide, starvation, torture, rape and medical experimentation are a part of war, especially before there were laws of wars preventing these human rights violations from occurring. That is why international laws were developed.
Following World War II, many nations came together to come to an agreement of what was acceptable and what was not acceptable behavior during wartime. These codes and statutes evolved to eventually become international human rights laws. These set of laws are recognized internationally by various nations and impose limitations on the power of the nation in an effort to minimize suffering caused by the war to people and property. These international laws have made the heinous acts committed during wartimes, illegal and a human rights violation. Underlying laws that prohibit the various “crimes against humanity” is the principle of nondiscrimination and the notion that certain basic rights apply universally.
Not surprisingly, it is often the abuse of human rights that lead of human rights violations. Political and economic rights are often at the root of human rights violations. When certain groups are deprived of basic needs and rights such as adequate food and shelter, it is this very group that is excluded from society’s decision making process. This makes for social unrest and often times, results in justice conflicts. Justice conflicts often give rise to violence and social upheaval. Therefore, it is the human rights violation of one group that spurns the human rights violation of another.
Many wonder what can be done to improve human rights in order to prevent social uprising caused by human rights violations. That is a difficult question to answer as there is no solid definition of what defines human rights, so there can be no definite cure all to prevent all human rights violations from possibly occurring. However, we do know that we can prevent the violation of our two most important basic human rights; our right to live and to physical safety. Although, we are far from solving this problem, for the time being we can do our best and keep our hands to ourselves.
Although both branches of law are often confused, international human rights and international humanitarian laws have nothing to do with one another. Both branches of law are very important as they protect the basic human rights of every human being. However, the manner in which they are instilled are quite different. In this article, we will take a closer look at the vast differences between both the branches of law and hopefully, we will be able to pass this information on, as each branch are just as important as the other.
In international humanitarian law, we are dealing with what are essentially the laws of war or armed conflict. These are a consolidated set of laws that are derived from the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions. The modern day document of the Geneva Convention consist of four treaties and three protocols. The first treaty consisted of ten articles and were adopted in 1864 by twelve nations. They were later ratified in 1882. The second treaty was adopted in 1906 and dealt with the armed forces at sea. The third treaty in involved the treatment and protection of prisoners of war and was adopted in 1929. The fourth was adopted in 1947 and reaffirmed the first three treaties with protection to extend to civilians during war time. This particular treaty was inspired by the Nuremberg Trials. The three protocols to follow extended protection to religious and medical personnel. The Geneva Conventions comprise rules that apply in times of armed conflict and seek to protect people who are not or are no longer taking part in hostilities. These include the wounded or sick fighters, prisoners of war, civilians and medical and religious personnel. The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at The Hague, Netherlands in 1899 and 1907, and were, along with the Geneva Conventions, among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes to be recognized internationally.
When it comes to international human rights, we lack the clear and definitive black and white lines defining international humanitarian laws. International human rights, instead, are an ever evolving set laws involving all rights protected as above, but also include the basic human rights each human being is afforded. These international human rights may vary slightly in wording from nation to nation but it protects the rights of each individual to legal recognition of certain civil, political, economical, social and cultural rights. What is considered a human right is hotly debated today from coffeehouses to courthouses. However, the basic human rights that are not contested are the right to life and to be safe from physical harm. Beyond, that however, the lines are still be drawn.
As you can see, both branches of law, though very important are also, very different. Whereas international humanitarian law applies only in armed conflict, international human rights cover all that extend beyond to the civilian world with a larger variety of human rights protected. As the times change, so will the laws that govern our human rights, and we will continue to grow and learn with along with evolution.
Human rights laws are a set of laws that are enacted and enforced by a nation to promote and protect the basic rights of human beings. Basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled to include civil and political rights, the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, equality before the law, social, cultural and economic rights, the right to food and shelter, the right to employment, and the right to an education. Although these basic laws may differ slightly from nation to nation, the basic human rights largely remain the same. However, because of the conflicts in what is considered a human right, several nations have come together to form what is similar to the international humanitarian laws. However, these laws will form a universal standard of human right law for each participating nation.
The International Human Rights Laws is a section of International Law designed to promote and protect human rights of individuals at the international, regional and domestic levels, and may be enforced to protect individuals on any such level. States that choose to ratify human right treaties must respect and ensure that their domestic human rights laws are compatible with those laws of the international human rights law.
International Human Rights Laws are similar to, but are different than International Humanitarian Laws. International Humanitarian Law protects the individual from war crimes and crimes and against humanity and as the description suggests, are applicable only during situations involving armed conflict. Like the International Humanitarian Laws, International Human Rights Laws are a set of internationally recognized laws. Both are substantial part of international law but the similarities soon end thereafter. International Human Rights Law apply to all individuals regardless of who you are, where you are and the circumstance you are in. In addition, the rights protected far exceed that of those protected under the International Humanitarian Law as it covers every human being, everyday, in every circumstance.
Although the human rights laws established by each individual country may differ, they do have one similarity. None of the human rights laws established by any country, are set in stone. Because the culture is constantly evolving, so will the set of laws that govern the protection each human being. Subjects that were once considered taboo will win the attention of courts and with each new law instated, the legislation must work to compensate for the changes that follow new additions to human rights law. It is a topic that will never rest and as the generations grow and change, these human rights laws will follow.
The cultural world is evolving more rapidly than ever today. Along with the cultural revolution is also the evolution of human rights. As we know, we are at a point right now where we still can not agree on what to define as a complete set of human rights. Because of this societal and cultural conflict, in the past few decades we have seen a whole new set of human rights issues rise to the surface. As social media becomes more involved with human rights issues, we are now facing these issues head on, as opposed to sweeping them under the rug as we once had. Although this is a significant step forward for humanity, it does not come without a price. Social upheavals and violence involving human rights issues have boiled over in the past few decades involving everything from race to homosexuality. So what is at the root of these human rights issues?
One of the main reasons for these human rights issues involve the instatement of the human rights acts itself. At one point in time, it had been socially acceptable and encouraged to take what you can from the indigenous peoples. Before reservations were formed, their land was free for the taking. The damage done to the culture of these indigenous peoples had been irreversible. By the time their rights were protected under the human rights acts, it became hard for these indigenous peoples to assimilate into mainstream society. Generation after generation of these people had their land taken from them, and those who survived the killings and indignation of their people learned only to distrust those who were unlike them. Due to this fact, most of the indigenous peoples were relocated to reservations where they had their own school system and associated only amongst themselves. However, when problems began to get passed down from generation to generation within the group, they had no other option than to accept it because they knew no other way of life. At one point in time, they were prisoners of those who stole their land and banished them. Now they have become prisoners of their own culture. How does one begin to understand the human rights issues that underlie this affliction so that they can get the help they need? It is still a human rights issue plaguing these indigenous people today.
Similarly, there are human rights issue we may deal with everyday and not realize. Every time we pass an underprivileged person, they may be a victim of these human rights issues. There are many people who cannot afford to provide themselves or their families with adequate housing or food, yet it seems, that those who make decisions based on this human rights issue have absolutely no understanding of what these underprivileged people go through or need. They are not consulted for the most part and many view it as treating the underprivileged population as no deserving of dignity.
These are but a few of the human rights issues that plague our world today. As the laws continue to evolve, we will undoubtedly encounter more of these issues. However, we must make the effort to be more compassionate and understanding of others in the human race. Everyone is different but equally deserving of respect, and understanding that is the first step to solving human rights issues.
As human rights evolves and becomes more popular, more and more Human Rights Acts are spreading across the world. A human rights act depicts the rights of human beings and guarantees that you will not be deprived of these basic human rights at anytime, regardless of who you are or the circumstances. Although these human rights acts are still a work in progress, many countries, including our own, already have developed a document stating what human rights each human being possesses within their country.
In Canada, The Canadian Human Rights Act is a statute passed by the Canadian government in 1977 that extends the law to ensure equal opportunity to all individuals regardless of race, religion, gender, disability or any other such prohibited grounds for discrimination. This human rights act outlines the creation of a Canadian Human Rights Commission, which is set to investigate claims of discrimination, and a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by which the case will be judged. In order for the case to reached the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the case must go through several stages of investigation and remediation, and if the parties are still not satisfied, then it will be judged in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
The United Kingdom also have their own human rights act based off of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty that was designed to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. This act came into force in 1953. Like the Canadian government, this Convention established the European Court of Human Rights. Any person who feels that their rights have been violated, as stated under the European Convention on Human Rights, may take their case to court. However, although the decisions of the court may not be legally binding, the court may still award damages. The European Convention is still the only international human rights agreement providing such a high degree of individual protection.
New Zealand has also instated a human rights act for their country. The Human Rights Act 1993 was a consolidation of The Race Relations Act 1971 and Human Rights Commission Act 1977. This human rights act states that there be no discrimination on a variety of grounds including sex, pregnancy, race, religion, disability, political opinion, family status, sexual orientation, age and employment status. This human rights act also governs the work of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. It is an independent agency funded through the Ministry of Justice and works to educate New Zealand’s citizens on human rights abuses, dispute over human rights and discrimination related issues.
As countries become more aware of the importance in protecting human rights, many countries are making an effort to define them and setting guidelines and punishments for those who violate them. Although none of these documents are certain to be concrete and free of future revisions, it is the first step in learning to understand humanity and protecting the values we have developed that define mankind today.
It seems that this recent generation is in the age of giving. Coincidentally, we are the first generation that has not exceeded the income of our parents’ generation. The reason for this? Some may blame it on the economic downfall, but as that had just come about recently, the more likely answer may be, that our generation is more focused on giving back to society and we are taking jobs that pay less in order to do so. And what jobs might afford us the opportunity to contribute to humanity worldwide? The general answer would be humanitarian organizations. There are more humanitarian organizations today than there has ever been. The sudden boom in humanitarian organizations have made it necessary for nations worldwide to come together in their effort to bring about faster and more effective aid to countries worldwide. Because of this sudden influx of humanitarian organizations, it might be confusing and overwhelming for an individual to join this movement. Here is brief synopsis on two of the more popular humanitarian organizations.
Since it’s founding in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has remained the nation’s premier emergency response provider. However, in the years that followed, the humanitarian organization, American Red Cross, has expanded its services with the general aim of relieving pain and suffering. The American Red Cross started out providing neutral humanitarian care to victims of war and continued to expand to aid victims of natural disasters. Today, the American Red Cross also serves in five other areas which are providing community services that help the needy; providing support and comfort for military members and their family; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; providing educational programs that promote health and safety; and international relief and development programs.
Another popular humanitarian organization is UNICEF. This humanitarian organization is the leading organization for child advocacy and children’s rights reaching into 190 countries. Because UNICEF is active in 190 countries, this makes it one of the most internationally active organizations. For those who love children and would like to travel, this humanitarian organization would be ideal. The main areas of focus are in child survival and development, basic education and gender equality, HIV/AIDS and children, child protection, policy advocacy and partnerships. UNICEF is also active in other areas of providing humanitarian relief such as emergency assistance in crises and nutrition for children, adolescents and the family. Access their website for all the relief this humanitarian organization provides internationally.
Becoming a part of a humanitarian organization is a wonderful and rewarding experience. You have the opportunity to travel and helps others in ways you otherwise would not be able to if not for the organization. However, it can be confusing to know where to begin. You could be well on your way to becoming a part of a humanitarian organization, but before you can help others, help yourself and do the research!
Humanitarian laws are the set of laws that govern armed conflict; or it is the law of war and the effects of such wars on people and property. The ultimate goal of humanitarian laws are to limit and minimize the amount of suffering caused by war, by regulating the way in which military operations are conducted. Humanitarian laws are the first set of such laws that are recognized nationally among warring nations. Humanitarian law was developed through The Geneva Conventions and Hague Conventions, as well as several statutes and precedents set forth by international military tribunals in the past. This internationally recognized set of laws, simply known as humanitarian law, is the final refined set of laws proceeding several treatises and time-honored customary rules.
Humanitarian law is the first branch of law that is internationally recognized in the laws of war. This is important as it is understood universally how each civilian or noncombatant individual is to be treated. In order to protect their own citizens, nations are compelled to protect the citizens of other nations during wartime. Humanitarian law comprises that the rule that in times of armed conflict, the nations will seek to (i) protect persons who are not or are no longer taking part in the hostilities, (ii) restrict the methods and means of warfare employed, and (iii) resolve matters of humanitarian concern resulting from war. These are the rules by which all the nations are held, to ensure not only that citizens and property of their own country will suffer minimal consequences of war, but that the citizens and property of all the nations will suffer minimally.
Some of the more prominent organizations and treatises paving the way for humanitarian law include the Geneva Convention of 1864, developed by the founder of the International Red Cross and champion of humanitarian law, Henri Dunant. These rules of engagement continued to develop for the next century and a half. The Charter of the Nations developed in 1945 stipulated that no nation will attack another nation except in the act of self-defense. The Genocide Convention of 1948, stemming from the Holocaust also undoubtedly shaped humanitarian law. In addition, the Geneva Convention of 1949, and two protocols that followed thereafter also contributed to what we know today as humanitarian laws.
The term humanitarian law may often be confused with that of human rights. However, the two must not be confused. Although similar in the sense that both are focused on protecting rights of the individuals, humanitarian laws deal with the rights of individuals based on rules set forth for war. They apply only the situation when the individual is in a situation of armed conflict, whether as a prisoner of war or noncombatant civilian. Human rights apply to everyday situations of civilians whether in war of peace time.
Overall, humanitarian law sets forth a principle which, fully revised and recognized, is the first branch of law of its kind. This unique aspect of international recognition by various nations gives a sort of common ground to otherwise different and possibly belligerent nations. It is due to this very important set of laws that we can rest assured that although nations may be at war, our rights are protected under the umbrella of humanitarian law.