New consortium awarded £5 million to prevent and reduce civilian suffering in armed conflicts
Published: 28 November 2023
A UofG Law academic is part of a new consortium led by the University of York, that has been awarded up to £5 million by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to research ways to prevent and reduce civilian suffering in armed conflicts around the world.
A UofG Law academic is part of a new consortium of academics and practitioners led by the University of York, that has been awarded up to £5 million by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to research ways to prevent and reduce civilian suffering in armed conflicts around the world.
Dr Rebecca Sutton, Senior Lecturer in International Law, is a Co-Investigator for the Beyond Compliance Consortium. This co-productive partnership is led by the University of York, together with experts at Utrecht University and six humanitarian NGOs: Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict; War Child UK; Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Centre; Center for Civilians in Conflict; and the Centre on Armed Groups and Fight for Humanity.
The devastating civilian toll of armed conflict in the world is more evident than ever. In 2022 alone, almost 94% of the victims of explosive weapons used in populated areas were civilians. In the same year, over 100 million people were forcibly displaced or pushed into acute food insecurity and almost 24,000 grave violations of children’s rights were documented.
The Consortium’s interdisciplinary programme of research centres civilians’ experiences of conflict. Through this lens, the research explores the inter-relationship between humanitarian need and civilian harm, and armed actors’ compliance with norms and restraint from violence.
Developed over three years, the research will provide strategic understanding of what factors, processes and influencers shape a wide range of armed actors’ behaviour. The overarching aim is to develop tangible ways to influence these behaviours in order to ensure better outcomes for civilian populations.
Dr Rebecca Sutton said: “The urgent challenges that communities caught up in armed conflict are facing right now cannot be met by any single actor, nor by one body of law. This academic-practitioner collaboration will focus on the everyday lived experience of armed conflict, with the shared ambition of better understanding - and addressing - the drivers of humanitarian need and civilian harm in war.”
Ioana Cismas, Professor at York Law School and Co-director of the Centre for Applied Human Rights, who leads the Consortium, said: “The research is grounded in and responds to the reality of war. Working co-productively with humanitarian organisations and the FCDO, we aim to generate new ways of thinking that translate into practical, effective tools that policy-makers, operational actors, and civilian communities themselves can employ in their humanitarian efforts.”
First published: 28 November 2023