As part of its ongoing IHL online course for senior humanitarian practitioners and policy-makers (7 September – 9 October 2020), the ICRC hosted a Webinar on "Non-State Armed Groups: People, Power, Policies".
A central feature of the changing geopolitical landscape of the last decade has been the proliferation of non-State armed groups (NSAGs). In some of the most complex recent conflicts, analysts observed hundreds, if not thousands, of groups engaging in armed violence. Their size, structure and capabilities vary widely.
While large groups with centralized and well-defined command and control structures continue to arise or to exist, other groups are decentralized in their structure and operate in fluid alliances. In this myriad of armed actors, the motivation for violence seems increasingly blurred between political, religious, and criminal interests. The multiplication of armed groups, their diverse nature, and the different ways in which they operate make it increasingly difficult for humanitarian organizations to operate safely and engage effectively with non-State armed groups on IHL compliance.
This Webinar discussion convenes leading experts to take stock of key trends that ICRC and others are witnessing in their engagement with armed groups. Panelists will also seek to provide answers to the following questions: How can we make sense of the structure, organization and operations of NSAGs? What explains their fragmentation? How do they sustain power? What is the experience of people living under their control? And finally, how to effectively sustain humanitarian engagement with NSAGs in order to protect and assist vulnerable populations?
Organized as a roundtable discussion, this public online event is moderated by Mariya Nikolova, Legal Training Adviser at the ICRC.
If you have questions about this event, please contact the ICRC's Legal Training Sector.