Thematic Short Course: Legal Framework of Humanitarian Action

from CERAH - the Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action
Registration deadline: 03 Sep 2018 Training date: 17 Sep 2018 to 21 Sep 2018 More Information

In the contexts in which humanitarian emergencies unfold, the legal situation can be complex. How can international law help advance humanitarian objectives, to get access to populations in need, for example? What legal instruments apply in different situations of armed violence and who do these instruments protect?

Actors may use the law to present their actions in the best light possible or to discredit others. Humanitarian projects can become entangled in this situation – to steer a clear path and use international law to advance humanitarian objectives, humanitarian workers need a good legal grounding. This seminar provides an introduction to the legal protection of victims of armed conflict and the work of UN human rights mechanism, among other topics.

This short course is developed jointly with the International Committee of the Red Cross.


Explore the law governing the recourse to armed force among states, questions raised by the responsibility to protect (R2P), the application of human rights law in times of emergency and armed conflict, and the legal framework of humanitarian access.

By the end of the seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify key norms and instruments of international law relevant to humanitarian action
  • Apply the law in concrete situations and use it to further humanitarian objectives

Learning outcomes in terms of knowledge - Understanding og

  • The main rules of international law pertaining to humanitarian action
  • The rights of individuals and the correlative obligations of states under international law
  • The main international legal mechanisms for the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law

Learning outcomes in terms of skills - Capacity to

  • Able to apply the relevant rules of international law in a specific case and integrate legal considerations into a humanitarian intervention strategy

Learning outcomes in terms of analytical competences - Ability to

  • Analyse a humanitarian action problem from a legal perspective
  • Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of approaching a humanitarian action problem from a legal perspective
Fee information:
CHF 1500.- Candidates who have paid Geneva taxes for at least one year may be able to apply for a "chèque de formation" (Education support) which amounts to a maximum of CHF 750.
How to register:

Apply on CERAH's Online Application Platform: