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ATLAS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 217334
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: France

A boost for European peacekeeping

A new drive to strengthen human rights practices and laws will help the EU improve conditions for civilians caught in the crossfire and process war crimes in a more equitable manner.
A boost for European peacekeeping
Strengthening international humanitarian law can help protect human rights during armed conflicts and minimise the injustices of war. The EU-funded project 'Armed conflicts, peacekeeping, transitional justice: Law as solution' (ATLAS) examined the role and impact of the rule of law and international humanitarian law to achieve this aim.

With regional and civil wars raging in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, human rights violations and contraventions to humanitarian law have taken on new forms. In this light, the project examined weaknesses and gaps in the law to propose rules that assure greater effectiveness of the existing legal framework. It studied violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during and after armed conflicts, comparing EU practices with those of other countries in order to support decision making by policymakers.

The project looked at cases in Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone, examining their experience with peace operations and national reconciliation procedures. It organised a symposium and outlined recommendations to further the topic, analysing how best to integrate human rights and laws into EU peacekeeping missions.

In addition, ATLAS compiled best practices on legal and institutional frameworks and measures that ensure respect for human rights and humanitarian law, and developed a code of conduct for civil and military peacekeeping personnel. The overall key project achievements are legal norms to protect civilian populations in the event of armed conflict and the integration of a human rights component in peace operations.

The work undertaken during this project has already begun having a positive impact on general EU external policy for promoting human rights. A comprehensive final report on the results and outcomes of ATLAS has been uploaded to the project's website and will enlighten all stakeholders regarding this pivotal issue. Most importantly, progress in this field is set to minimise distress for citizens caught in war zones, strengthen peacekeeping operations and promote the fair treatment of war prisoners.

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