What was the Conference on The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Acute Crisis
From 11-13 February 1998 a conference on “The Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights in Acute Crisis” was held in London, organised by the UK Department
for International Development and the University of Essex Human Rights Centre.
The purpose of the conference was to examine, in depth, the need for, and the
implications of, a human rights-based response by the international community to
situations of internal conflict and political instability. Recommendations
arising from the conference are set out in the report.
While the focus of the conference was on the challenge of protecting human
rights in the midst of acute conflict and violence, in opening it the Secretary
of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Clare Short MP, placed the
subject within a broader framework of conflict prevention and post-conflict
Who were the participant in the Conference on The Promotion and Protection
of Human Rights in Acute Crisis?
Participants, of which a list is contained in Appendix A of this
report, came from offices of the main intergovernmental agencies carrying
out peacekeeping, human rights and humanitarian operations; leading
non-governmental organisations working in the area of human rights and
humanitarian assistance; representatives of several donor governments, as well
as academic authorities on various aspects of the field. Discussions were based
on a working paper prepared by Ms Kate Mackintosh for the University of Essex
Human Rights Centre and papers presented by various participants. All
participants were asked to speak in their personal capacities, without
commitment on behalf of their organisations.
What was the purpose of the Conference on The Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights in Acute Crisis?
The purpose of the conference was to generate ideas as to how in a practical
sense, effective international responses to the new challenges of internal
conflict can be advanced. The recommendations in the
were drawn up by the organisers following the conference. While reflecting the
organisers’ sense of the general approach of the Conference, they are not
necessarily subscribed to by each participant. They are addressed as appropriate
to the international community as a whole, the United Nations agencies, other
bodies and to donor countries.
The written papers included with this report offer important
and concrete suggestions for action from the perspectives of the different
agencies and institutions called upon to act in such crises, as well as setting
out the international legal framework drawn from human rights, humanitarian law
and refugee law.