Uphold the norms that safeguard humanity

Even wars have limits: minimizing human suffering and protecting civilians require strengthened compliance with international law.

Every day, civilians are deliberately or indiscriminately injured and killed. Airstrikes rip families apart. Humanitarian and healthcare workers are kidnapped and killed, medical facilities and ambulances looted and destroyed as a tactic of warfare. Access for humanitarian workers is being arbitrarily denied and obstructed to exacerbate suffering. Women and girls are abused and sold as sexual slaves. Schools, hospitals and places of worship are regularly bombed. States need to respect the rules they have endorsed in international humanitarian and human rights law. This means complying with the rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution and stopping bombing and shelling populated areas, where civilians account for the vast majority of deaths.

Agenda for Humanity Transformations

In his Agenda for Humanity, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon advocates for a number of strategic and normative shifts that are necessary in order to make the Agenda a reality.

Respecting the rules of war include:

Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity

  • 2A
    Respect and protect civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of hostilities
  • 2B
    Ensure full access to and protection of the humanitarian and medical missions
  • 2C
    Speak out on violations
  • 2D
    Take concrete steps to improve compliance and accountability
  • 2E
    Uphold the rules: a global campaign to affirm the norms that safeguard humanity

Summary of individual and joint commitments made

Participants at the World Humanitarian Summit made thousands of individual and joint commitments in support of the major shifts laid out in the Agenda for Humanity. These commitments represent tangible actions that support the implementation of a core commitment, or more broadly to help achieve the Agenda for Humanity.

Core Responsibility 2 generated a wide range of policy and operational commitments to strengthen the protection of civilians by enhancing compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law. The commitments were tailored to stakeholders’ individual policy priorities, needs and capacities thereby fulfilling the Secretary-General’s call for Member States to use their political and economic leverage to ensure that parties to armed conflict comply with international humanitarian and human rights law. At least 20% of the commitments focused on the prevention of gender-based violence. Another 40 commitments focused on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. A large number of commitments highlighted actions to further protection of civilians, including child protection, and promotion of the centrality of protection.

A selection of individual and joint commitments made

  • Academic Council on the UN System AcademiaEurope

    ACUNS through its Vienna Liaison Office will promote efforts to identify, focus global attention on, and offer new ideas to prevent and/or stop, femicide (killing of women, as women) and the targeting of women in conflict situations.

    • Commitment Type Advocacy
  • Academic Council on the UN System AcademiaEurope

    ACUNS will conduct and disseminate critical studies on core responsibility 2 (core commitments 1 and 5), using podcasts and written articles to highlight both issues, which are disseminated online and in print through its global network.

    • Commitment Type Policy
  • Action Against Hunger | ACF International NGOGlobal

    ACF International will actively pursue within the year ahead the creation of a Special Rapporteur for the protection of aid workers, dedicated to advancing efforts to respect and protect the humanitarian mission against attacks, threats or other violent acts that prevent it from fulfilling its exclusively humanitarian function, and to fight impunity.

    • Commitment Type Advocacy