International Humanitarian Law

International humanitarian law (IHL) (also commonly referred to as the law of war or the law of armed conflict) is the branch of international law applicable to armed conflicts. IHL restricts the methods and scope of warfare through a set of universal laws (treaties and customs) that limit the effects of armed conflict and that protect civilians and persons who are no longer participating in hostilities.

Within the OAS, the Department of International Law plays an active role in the advancement and dissemination of IHL in the Americas. In this role, the Office assists the Permanent Council and its Committees and OAS Member States on the drafting of resolutions on the promotion and protection of international humanitarian law in the Americas and other matters related to International Humanitarian Law.

The Office also coordinates its activities with the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to support decisions adopted by Member States on IHL matters. In collaboration with the ICRC, the Department of International Law also organizes courses on IHL and holds seminars on IHL in the Americas.