Training Manual on Human Rights Monitoring

By Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights | Go to book overview

Chapter XVI
MONITORING DURING
PERIODS OF ARMED
CONFLICT

Key concepts

Some human rights obligations, including the duty to avoid arbitrary deprivations of life,
torture, slavery and discrimination, are not subject to derogation during periods of armed
conflict.

Human rights officers should be aware of the various levels of applicability of
international human rights and humanitarian law — and the protection they offer —
based on the level and nature of the conflict.

Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions provides “fundamental principles of
humanitarian law,” which deal explicitly with non-international armed conflicts, but
which have now been recognized as constituting a minimum standard applicable in all
circumstances, including international armed conflicts.

If mandated to do so, there are several basic principles in monitoring and contacting
armed opposition groups, which a UN human rights field operation should consider:

Avoid giving recognition to armed opposition groups;
Be transparent in talking with the Government and opposition groups;
Preserve its impartiality;
Assess serious security concerns in making contacts;
Avoid interfering with other humanitarian organizations;
Become aware of who can speak for or influence non-State actors;
Explain its mandate and its reasons for wishing to keep in touch;
Engage in broadly based human rights promotion activities;
Determine what arguments will persuade armed opposition groups;
Be aware of inherent conflicts in monitoring and other efforts; and
Mediate by keeping lines of communication open between the parties.

-327-

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