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5. Human Rights on the Battlefield

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the relationship between human rights law and international humanitarian law. It explores the nature of human rights obligations and the various modes of state responsibility in relation to human rights violative conduct. The chapter delineates a framework for understanding the application of human rights law in relation to individuals outside of a state’s territory. Human rights law and humanitarian law (i.e. the law of armed conflict) are separate bodies of international law with distinct modes of application. Human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), place responsibility for ‘respecting and ensuring’ human rights squarely upon states parties. The use of private contractors in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has drawn increased attention to the relationship between the conduct of non-state actors and state responsibility.

Keywords: Afghanistan; armed conflict; human rights law; human rights treaties; ICCPR; international humanitarian law; international law; Iraq; non-state actors; state’s territory



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