Conversations on Conflict explores Human Rights and Conflict

Last month the Humanity Hub hosted The Hague Conversations on Conflict that explored the complex connection between human rights and conflict. The well-attended event saw the participation of the civil society and press, diplomats, and others. The series continues this Thursday, 28 November at 6 PM with an installment on radicalisation, extremism, and their link to violent conflict.

Photo: Louise Alves

Last month’s installment was organised in collaboration with LINKS Europe and Security and Human Rights Monitor. Its panel of experts consisted of Dr. Nienke van der Have from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (speaking in a personal capacity), Ambassador Piet de Klerk from the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, and Fulco van Deventer from the Human Security Collective.

Participants acknowledged the changing nature of warfare with a global shift towards intra-state conflicts, wherein wars are fought between different actors in a single state. Adding to the complexity, boundaries between state and non-state actors are increasingly blurred and traditional methods of approaching human rights protection may not be as applicable with the need to explore new solutions.

Moreover, even the protection of human rights in more traditional settings does not go far enough. Despite a seemingly “very solid legal system”, panellist Dr. van der Have observes limitations in terms of state obligations to intervene in cases of serious human rights violations. The development of the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) was an important step in the right direction, however, it faces criticisms and major challenges – key among them the veto power held by permanent members of the UN Security Council that impedes the execution of R2P.

R2P represents a shift from “sovereignty as a right, to sovereignty as a responsibility,” says Dr. van der Have.

Photo: Louise Alves

Panellist Piet de Klerk explored how human rights can be embedded in conflict prevention and resolution. Despite the existence of best approach theories, achieving this in practice turns out to be easier said than done. It becomes an even harder feat to accomplish in scenarios of ongoing conflict, such as that in Afghanistan, where initial pledges by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to improve human rights have been stonewalled by the violent reality on the ground.

Returning to the initial acknowledgment of the changing nature of warfare, panellist van Deventer focused on intra-state violence. Through his counter-terrorism expertise he argued that human rights work can serve a preventive role – securing human rights can prevent the kind of radicalisation that leads to participation in the activities of violent non-state groups. Therefore, the post-9/11 era approach of isolating radicalised communities needs to be replaced to address some of the root causes of conflict.

The event concluded with a productive questions and answers session with the audience. Read a full rundown of the event from the Security and Human Rights Monitor: click here.

This Thursday, 28 November at 6 PM we will be exploring radicalisation, extremism, and their link to violent conflict with another panel of experts at the Humanity Hub. Are you curious? Read more…

The Hague Conversations on Conflict is a series of discussions, lectures, workshops and networking events launched by LINKS Europe in association with The Hague Humanity Hub in June 2019. Its aim is to provide a forum where the changing nature of war and conflict can be analysed and assessed, together with the responses of international society. The fourth installment of the series is planned for 28 November.