Armed conflict often has devastating effects on civilians, whether as the direct victims of death, injury, rape and forcible displacement or as indirect victims through conflict-induced increases in disease, hunger and malnutrition. Under international humanitarian law (IHL), parties to armed conflicts must take a broad range of measures to protect civilians from the effects of military operations, yet these rules are often inadequately implemented or deliberately violated by parties on the ground.
Norway is actively engaged in a wide range of initiatives aimed at improving the protection of civilians during armed conflict, including in efforts to strengthen the implementation of and respect for IHL, prevent sexual violence in war and promote “humanitarian disarmament” (e.g. the elimination of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions). NOREF aims to support such efforts by preparing analysis, organizing events and providing assistance to specific initiatives or processes.