Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Action


Here are the research projects dealing with issues of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Action. You will also find the list of recent publications related to this cluster.

Improving the Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflict

Professor Andrew Clapham, funded by SNIS. September 2016–August 2018.
Undertaken in partnership with Handicap International, the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, this project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance to persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.
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Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems and War Crimes: Who is to Bear Criminal Responsibility?

Professor Paola Gaeta, funded by SNSF. October 2017–September 2021.
This project investigates whether and under which conditions the individuals who have deployed lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), e.g. military robots designed to select and attack military targets (non-civilian people and objects) without intervention by a human operator, can be held responsible for the commission of the resulting war crimes.

Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts: From Norms to Practices

Hannah Dönges (CCDP), funded by SNSF. March 2015–March 2018.
The norm that civilians should not be targeted during war is not new but it has gained new momentum since the explicit inclusion of the principle of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (POC), traditionally a “humanitarian” task, in the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations in 1999. Civil-military cooperation is now often presented as a necessary tool to ensure the “sustainability” of peace, and the failure to protect civilians is often equated with “mission failure”. This project aims at analysing how POC is understood by protection actors and then put into different practices from mandate formulation over operationalisation to implementation on the ground. 
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