Certificate of Advanced Studies – Legal Environment of Humanitarian Action

Certificate of Advanced Studies – Legal Environment of Humanitarian Action
© MSF/Peter Casaer and © Maurane Di Matteo

In the national and international contexts in which humanitarian emergencies unfold, the legal situation is often highly complex and even contradictory. Actors may attempt to manipulate the law to present their actions in the best light possible or to discredit others. Humanitarian projects can become entangled in this situation – to steer a clear path, humanitarian workers need a good legal grounding.

No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their life, everyone has the right to food, no state shall expel or return a refugee to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom would be threatened, and during armed conflicts, the civilian population shall not be the object of attack. International law so provides. What is the legal basis for these assertions? What legal instruments apply in a specific situation? Who do these instruments (not) protect? What rights do they (not) confer? What mechanisms exist to promote respect for the law and monitor compliance, to obtain justice and ensure legal accountability?

This Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) course offers an overview of the legal framework governing humanitarian action, covering international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and refugee law among other areas of international law. The course aims to equip participants with the ability to analyse humanitarian action challenges from a legal perspective and to use international law to advance humanitarian objectives.

What you can expect from this course

If you are a humanitarian professional or work in an international organisation, this course will enable you to extend your knowledge of law applied to humanitarian action. 

If you are a legal professional working outside the humanitarian sector, this course will enable you to familiarise yourself with the legal specificities of humanitarian practice and the law’s application in the field of humanitarian intervention.   

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Objectives and programme
Scientific committee