While NGOs have long been at the forefront of initiatives to curb the suffering of civilians caught in violent conflict, the state-centric nature of international humanitarian and human rights enforcement has failed to account for the growing influence of non-state actors. Founded in 2000 with a desire to address this gap, Geneva Call seeks to engage armed groups in a constructive dialogue aimed at persuading members to respect specific humanitarian norms. In practice, Geneva Call’s pioneering efforts have centered on using specially developed deeds of commitment as a means to hold organized armed entities accountable.
Though largely focused, at first, on banning the use of land mines, Geneva Call’s work has expanded to encompass child soldiers and the elimination of gender-based violence in conflict zones. Engaging non-state actors is not without controversy. Nonetheless, after ten years the organization has led a normative shift in state thinking, expanding protections in ten conflicts, while securing concrete commitments from 41 different armed groups across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe.
Web site: http://www.genevacall.org/