The laws of war: protecting civilians in armed conflict

By: DANIIL UKHORSKY


posted on: January 3rd, 2019

Sub-saharan African countries face threats from armed groups and terrorist organizations. Groups such as Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have no respect for human rights. They carry out massacres, conduct ethnic cleansing and target civilians. Governments aim to protect people against the threat of such groups. However, they can inflict significant civilian casualties when doing so.

The universality of the right to life comes into question in times of war. When defending its citizens governments are authorized to use lethal force. The use of force is not allowed in all situations. It can be limited under the laws of war, generally known as International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

PROTECTING THE LIVES AND RIGHTS OF CIVILIANS

Sometimes government forces attack civilian targets and kill hundreds of civilians. This can happen due to reckless action, or even intentionally. This is a failure by the government to protect its citizens and a violation of the right to life. Civilians in areas of armed conflict often are disadvantaged or belong to a persecuted minority group, meaning that governments could be discriminating against minorities.

For instance, when carrying out counter-terrorist operations against Boko Haram, the Nigerian military has committed numerous IHL violations. In 2017 an airstrike targeted at Boko Haram fighters hit a refugee camp, killing 234 civilians. The government blamed the deaths on faulty intelligence, but their actions were a violation of IHL. When governments do not follow the restrictions set by IHL their use of force violates their citizens

Share Article

Comments

avatar

Related articles

Human Rights

Les filles enceintes et les jeunes m

Les filles enceintes et les jeunes m

Read more
Human Rights

Pregnant girls and young mothers in education: challenges..

Pregnant girls and young mothers have difficulties to continue with their education. In Equatorial Guinea…

Read more
Human Rights

Les lois de la guerre : prot

Les pays d’Afrique subsaharienne sont confront

Read more
Human Rights

The laws of war: protecting civilians in armed conflict

Sub-saharan African countries face threats from armed groups and terrorist organizations. Groups such as Al-Shabaab…

Read more
Human Rights

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti; Une h

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti est une politicienne nig

Read more

We think you are enjoying this, sign up for our newsletter!

Sign up