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International Humanitarian Law

International humanitarian law (IHL) sets out the limitations, restrictions and prohibitions on parties engaged in armed conflict, both international and non-international. While IHL does not prohibit all violence, it does seek to limit the harm and violence caused during situations of conflict.

  • Understanding IHL

    What is IHL? When does it apply? Is IHL different from human rights law? Who has responsibilities under IHL?
  • Protected Persons

    "Protected persons" is a legal term that only applies in situations of international armed conflict (IAC). It refers to specific protections afforded to people who have fallen into the hands of or are under the control of the adversary.
  • Occupation

    Under international humanitarian law the rules relating to the law of occupation provide extensive and broad protections for persons living under occupation, as well as providing for some administrative rights...
  • Sexual Violence

    During many armed conflicts sexual violence is committed on an endemic scale, primarily against women and girls, but sexual violence is also committed against men and boys. International law sets out absolute...
  • Humanitarian Assistance

    During conflict, the effective and speedy delivery of humanitarian aid for those in need is essential to ensure the protection of civilians. IHL sets out clear legal obligations for warring parties to facilitate the delivery of such aid.
  • Cultural Property

    During armed conflict, warring parties have looked to destroy, capture or take valuable items of cultural property of their enemy. IHL sets out a framework of special protection for such items during armed...