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2014 was marked by an increase in the number and intensity of non-international armed conflicts in different contexts and countries. These conflicts are taking a dramatic toll on civilian populations, forcing families to leave their homes or children to enrol as fighters. More than ever, dialogue with armed non-State actors (ANSAs) is necessary for the protection of civilian populations from the effects of armed conflict.
The recent War Report describes 27 on-going non-international armed conflicts in 24 States or territories, all involving armed non-State actors (ANSAs), most of them unequivocally subject to International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Violations of international humanitarian norms are widespread in all of these conflicts, with civilians consistently suffering the most. Many IHL violations – though not all – are committed by ANSAs.
This report was stimulated by a conference on armed non-State actors (ANSAs) and the protection of internally displaced people organized in 2011 jointly by Geneva Call and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. The conference itself followed on from a special edition of Forced Migration Review magazine on ‘Armed non-state actors and displacement’.