24 January 2020 11:00 - 13:30

Displaced in War - International Humanitarian Law for every step

Join the ICRC, the Permanent Mission of Germany, and UNHCR on 24 January for a panel discussion on internally displaced persons and international humanitarian law.

About the event

Over the last decades, tremendous advances have been made in ensuring that a minimum of humanity prevails in times of conflict, including on issues of internal displacement. In 2018, we saw the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced Persons and in 2019, the 10th anniversary of the Kampala Convention and the 70th anniversary of the four Geneva Conventions. Each of these milestones remain as relevant as ever.

And yet, despite our advances, some parties to armed conflict continue to challenge the applicability and scope of international law, and in some cases its very existence. At times, even the most basic of principles are disregarded, causing tremendous suffering for civilian populations and directly contributing to forced displacement – internally and across borders.

Humanitarian actors operating on the frontline face unprecedented challenges in ensuring protection and assistance to those most in need. There is often no linear simplicity between conflict and post-conflict situations, which leaves humanitarian actors to handle the consequences of political inaction or lack of solutions, placing both internally displaced persons and humanitarian workers at risk.

This panel discussion is organized jointly by UNHCR and the ICRC to facilitate an open and thought-provoking reflection on how internally displaced persons are protected by international humanitarian law and to what extent humanitarian workers are using and applying this legal framework in their daily work on behalf of internally displaced persons and other affected civilians. It also seeks to initiate dialogue among humanitarian actors and other stakeholders on their role in promoting and advancing international humanitarian law.

Speakers and Panelists

  • Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva (opening remarks)
  • Ms Grainne O'hara, Director of International Protection, UNHCR (moderator)
  • Dr Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy, ICRC
  • Dr Heike Speiker, Head International Law and Red Cross Ethics, German Red Cross
  • Mr Jürg Montani, Head of Delegation, ICRC Jordan


Register to attend using the form below. Please note there are a limited number of spaces remaining for this event.


Date & Time

24 January 2020 11:00 - 13:30

Venue address

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Maison de la Paix, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202, Geneva