The spike in internal armed conflicts around the world has increased the need for humanitarian actors to engage with armed non-state actors (ANSAs) to protect civilans in harm's way. In many instances, however, ANSAs are either unsure of or unwilling to meet their obligations to protect civilians under International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
In response, Geneva Call has developed a searchable database that brings together over 400 humanitarian commitments of ANSAs, notably on issues such as the protection of children in armed conflict and respect for the Geneva Conventions. It is designed to encourage ANSAs to make known their positions on the norms of IHL, and thereby to show publically their willingness to comply with these standards.
The database will be of great interest to researchers, governments and academics, but it may also encourage other armed groups to follow in the footsteps of those whose conduct seeks greater protection for civilian populations in armed conflict.