About us

We believe that more humanity in conflict contributes to a world in which people and their communities can eventually live side by side and in peace.

Our Vision is more humanity in conflict

The Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre was founded to promote respect for the laws of war and to increase the protection of people in conflict zones. We are neutral and do not take sides, but we are not indifferent to injustices and work to ensure that laws are respected and offer protection for everyone.

Through research, capacity building, and advocacy, the Centre raises awareness and knowledge about international humanitarian law (IHL) to create lasting behaviour change. We work with humanitarian organisations, governments and state armed forces, armed groups, civil society, and other actors around the world.

AMISOM PEACEKEEPERS IN SOMALIA, LICENSED UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0. AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE

A boy playing with a ball, with soldiers and military vehicles in the background.

Goals of the IHL Centre

International humanitarian law (IHL) is the body of law that restricts the methods and means of warfare and seeks to provide protection in conflict zones. The Centre’s goal is to influence and change the behaviour of militaries, armed groups, and society as a whole in order to improve the respect for basic legal standards in times of war. Through trainings and advocacy we raise awareness about the law. Limiting the impact of conflict to the minimum possible if IHL is respected, saves lives. Through greater adherence to the laws of war, humanity in conflict will increase.

A classroom with many students listening to a teacher.

Experience and expertise on IHL

Diakonia has almost twenty years of experience in research, capacity building, and advocacy on IHL. In 2004, the International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre (IHLRC) was created in the Diakonia Regional Middle East Office in Jerusalem with the mandate to raise awareness of issues pertaining to IHL in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Resource Centre has evolved into a well-respected actor that provides local civil society and the international community with independent, neutral, and in-depth information about the conflict.

Gender justice and international humanitarian law

We believe that all people regardless of gender, sex, sexual orientation, expression, or identity should have the power, knowledge, and the resources to shape their life and the society they live in. As a Centre, we work based on feminist principles to achieve this objective. In our programmes and interventions on international law, we include a gender perspective to identify the needs, vulnerabilities, and capacities of rights among different people and groups.

A child passes by a dredger with rubble in the background.

IHL Centre worldwide

Following the success in Jerusalem, Diakonia has expanded its work on IHL by creating the International Humanitarian Law Centre as a global centre of excellence with local presences. Since the establishment of the Centre in 2017, additional regional desks have been created in Mali, also covering Niger, Burkina Faso, and for Syria (based in Lebanon), also covering Jordan and Turkey. At the global level, the Centre works on emerging crises worldwide, and is leading innovative policy projects to strengthen international law.

Header photo: Peacekeepers during a daytime patrol in order to protect civilians in Luofu, DRC, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. MONUSCO/ABEL KAVANAGH