Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Center (IHLRC) “Closing the Compliance Gap”

Project completed

The Swiss contribution supports Diakonia’s International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre (IHLRC) to respond to the demand for accurate and principled legal analysis on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law in the oPt, and to make it accessible to States and relevant organizations to ensure that their policies and international aid are not in contradiction with international law. This intervention is in line with the Swiss Foreign Policy in the Region and SDC Cooperation Strategy 2015-2018 that aims to promote respect for International Law, to ensure protection by all duty-bearers of the rights of the Palestinian population.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Occupied Palestinian Territory
Human rights
Conflict & fragility
Conflict prevention and transformation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Conflict prevention
01.01.2017 - 30.11.2021
CHF  1’700’000

The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continues to endure the longest military occupation since the adoption of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Widespread violations of international law, and the overall climate of impunity, continue to cause human suffering for the “Protected Population” - the 4.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank - while putting the foundations for lasting peace and sustainable development at risk. The continuous expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the increased threats of forcible transfers, the planning and zoning regime applied in Area C, the related demolition and/or confiscation of humanitarian and development aid are all but examples of violations of international law that negatively affect the prospects for peace building, deny the right to development and maintain a protracted protection crisis. 

The Palestinian intra-factional violence and division contributes to turning the conflict into a “justice crisis”, characterized by absence of accountability and wide spread impunity for violations and abuses of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). 

Furthermore, the international community is often not well informed about international law and its implications, about the obligations of both Israeli and Palestinian duty bearers.


Diakonia IHLRC’s overall goal is to increase compliance with IHL and related international law through emphasis on local capacities and sustainability, as well as State and third party political and moral responsibility, including multilateral organizations and private sector actors.

Target groups
  • Multilateral organization representatives including AIDA, HCT, Protection Cluster, Legal Task Force, and Legal Advisory group, et al.
  • Diplomatic community including heads of mission and heads of policy operating in/on the oPt.
  • UN Agencies including the Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator, UNHQs in Geneva and NY, UNRWA, OCHA, OHCHR, UNDP, et al.
  • Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO).
  • Strategic networks, including relevant actors/representatives stationed in Brussels such as Act Alliance EU, EUROMED Rights, EEAS, MaMa Working Group, MoFAs, FILG, etc.
  • Donor community active in oPt.
  • International & national NGOs, local civil society and CBOs, including academics students, IHL/IHRL Secretariat and PNGO.
  • Faith-based organizations, including DCA, NCA, FinChurchAid, et al.
  • Private sector actors, including business entities and CSR and investment advisors.
  • Key decision makers and opinion shapers, including parliamentarians and journalists
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1:

  • Improved knowledge of IHL violations and obligations among key stakeholders by mainstreaming IHL/IHRL (and, correspondingly, awareness of violations) to influence policies and operations
  • State, regional and international organization representatives are engaged and influenced to effectively incorporate IHL principles into their work, setting the framework for bilateral and multilateral responses in line with IHL, and reinforcing the principled IHL position in relation to Israel and Palestine

  1. Outcome 2:

  • Identified partners have improved their knowledge about, and adopted monitoring tools to include, vulnerable groups (most notably, women, children, and disabled people), thereby capturing the impact of the conflict and increasing implementation of IHL and protection compliance

Expected results:  

  1. Enhanced awareness of, and respect for, IHL among key stakeholders with special focus on third States, local authorities, private sector actors and multilateral organizations.
  2. Increased discussions in strategic opinion shaping and decision-making fora incorporating legal information, analysis or policy advice from the IHLRC and partners.
  3. Key stakeholders have used and/or included IHL in their programs, communications material, public statements or published reports.
  4. Local partners and CBOs have improved their capacity to incorporate improved standards for disaggregated data and have integrated gender, age and disability perspectives into documentation, monitoring, and reporting on IHL violations thereby better capturing the impact of conflict and trends in implementation of IHL and protection compliance

Results from previous phases:  

  1. IHLRC advocacy is considered solid and credible by IHL/HR actors such as ICRC, UNHCHR and OCHA.
  2.  In the first half of 2016, IHLRC published one legal report (Archaeological Sites in Area C), five legal briefs , two expert opinions, in addition to 6 legal fact-sheets and information materials.
  3. IHLRC successfully commissioned an expert opinion on “Development Assistance under IHL” to be published at the end of 2016.
  4. IHLRC website underwent significant improvements, refining messaging and providing more clarity on major IHL issues.
  5. A set of 6 user-friendly IHL fact sheets were designed and printed during 2016 containing IHL essentials, and disseminated for advocacy purposes.
  6. The IHLRC was officially approached more than 124 times in the first half of 2016 from INGOs such as Oxfam, AICS, FinnChurchAid, Action against Hunger, DCA, Action Aid and others for legal/policy advice, including requests for briefings, trainings and field visits.
  7. IHLRC conducted more than 26 educational and awareness raising activities aimed at key actors and audiences.
  8. Two IHL basic trainings were conducted for AIDA members stationed in Jerusalem (with a total of 22 participants) and another IHL basic training for EAPPI members (15 participants)
  9. IHLRC successfully delivered three Breakfast Briefings with partner NGOs and local organizations for approximately 20 diplomats per session
  10. IHLRC responded to more than 10 requests for targeted briefings received from a variety of key stakeholders including political advisors, political and diplomatic heads of missions and opinion makers (including academics, entrepreneurs, governmental and public officials), among others.
  11. In February 2016, IHLRC conducted an advocacy mission to Brussels convening a number of advocacy meetings mainly targeting member State representatives from both the MaMa and COHOM working groups as well as representatives from the EEAS Middle East Peace Process desk.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector North

Other partners

Donors: Sida and The Netherlands

IHL partners: Israeli and Palestinian HR NGOs

Coordination with other projects and actors

Close coordination and strong synergies with Human Rights and IHL Secretariat, AIDA, PNGO, OCHA and the Humanitarian Country Team, esp. OHCHR-led Protection Cluster

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’700’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’454’589
Project phases

Phase 3 01.01.2017 - 30.11.2021   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2016   (Completed) Phase 1 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2015   (Completed)