Diakonia - People change the world
“I grew up in a society where people suffered massive human rights violations. This experience fueled my interest in working towards the advancement of human rights and respect of international legal standards and fundamental freedoms of people, particularly on the African continent.” Jean de Dieu is a Rwandan national and works for Diakonia in Mali promoting International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

International humanitarian law

Diakonia's International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre (IHL) is focused on increasing respect and use of international humanitarian law in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The programme started in 2004 and is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida) the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC ) and the UNDP.

Improving the humanitarian situation

International humanitarian law mainly focuses on protection of civilians in conflict situations and puts limitations on the means and methods of warfare. With our programme we hope to improve the humanitarian situation by increasing the awareness to rules of international humanitarian law in both the Israeli and Palestinian civil societies.

Demands on both sides

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is very polarized. Perspectives on the conflict are commonly judged as taking sides for or against either one of the parties. Diakonia sees the need to develop a new starting point for discussions, that would not stem from either side's perspective. We believe that international humanitarian law is a useful tool for change. International humanitarian law puts equal demands on both parties, and specifically in cases of occupation it highlights the rights of the protected occupied population. It also offers an approach based on generally accepted principles.


Together with our partners Al Haq and ACRI we have produced educational material on international humanitarian law for people with no legal background. This material is available in both Hebrew and Arabic.

The groups that participate in our partners' trainings or workshops are for example NGO:s, journalists from both Israel and Palestine, human rights organizations and women's and youth groups.

Reporting and monitoring

When it comes to reporting and monitoring we cooperate with  partners; respected human rights organizations such as B’Tselem, Al Haq, Badil and Al Mezan. They publish reports on the violations of international humanitarian law committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Information and advocacy

Knowledge is essential in order to strengthen respect for international humanitarian law. But it needs to be combined with political will. This is why Diakonia provides information on and is advocating for increased use of international humanitarian law on many levels: In Israel, Palestine, Sweden as well as in Europe. In this work we show the advantages of using, and referring to, international humanitarian law from an integrative outlook. We believe that international humanitarian law is crucial in reaching a sustainable and peaceful solution to the conflict.