Thinking critically about armed groups and human rights praxis

Ron Dudai, Kieran McEvoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article critically examines the relationship between the human rights movement and armed groups. Drawing upon a wide array of case studies, it examines some of the most important legal and policy developments which have shaped this field since the 1980s. It also critically explores some of the theoretical and practical models of interventions which have been deployed by different human rights organizations concerning abuses by armed groups. The paper then explores the dilemmas of engagement with armed groups while managing the difficulties associated with conferring legitimacy on such groups. It also explores how human rights groups deal with the realities of the involvement of some armed groups in governance functions within their own communities. Finally, we identify two areas where we believe important future developments in this field could be directed: the framework of transitional justice, and the role of human rights organizations in navigating the increasingly blurred boundaries between some armed groups and organized crime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Human Rights Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Armed groups
  • Governance
  • Human rights NGOs
  • Organized crime
  • Transitional justice

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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