April 16, 2020

ACCPI Revamps Humanitarian Disarmament Website and Responds to COVID-19

Posted by Jillian Rafferty JD/MPP'20

Screenshot of new Humanitarian Disarmament website with a large picture of a UN meeting.

The International Human Rights Clinic’s Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative (ACCPI) relaunched its flagship website, humanitariandisarmament.org, this week. The site aims to increase public awareness of the humanitarian approach to governing weapons and serves as a hub of information for practitioners in the field. 

In addition to having updated content and greater functionality, the new website has responded to COVID-19 by initiating a series of blog posts reflecting on the pandemic’s effects on humanitarian disarmament and creating a new “COVID-19 and Disarmament” resources page.

Since its formation in 2018, the ACCPI has been a key player in humanitarian disarmament. Its inaugural conference brought global experts to campus to reflect on the state of the movement and strategize about the way forward. Since then, the ACCPI has not only created and maintained humanitariandisarmament.org, but also held a workshop for diplomats in Geneva, co-published and translated a primer on the topic, and promoted coordination among civil society leaders working on different weapons issues.

Humanitarian disarmament seeks to prevent and remediate arms-inflicted human suffering and environmental harm through the establishment and implementation of norms. A people-centered approach in both substance and process, it prioritizes protecting people rather than advancing national security. Humanitarian disarmament advocates have driven the negotiation, universalization, and implementation of numerous international legal instruments, including the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty, and the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The 1997 and 2017 Nobel Peace Prizes recognized the role humanitarian disarmament coalitions played in banning antipersonnel landmines and nuclear weapons.

The ACCPI has added a variety of exciting new features to the relaunched website. First and foremost is the introduction of an associated newsletter (which you can sign up for on the site), highlighting developments in humanitarian disarmament, recent blog posts, and other relevant material.

The site’s rebranded blog, Disarmament Dialogue provides a forum for advocates and practitioners working in the humanitarian disarmament space to share their insights and analyses and to learn about key advances in the field.  Over the past few weeks, Disarmament Dialogue posts have highlighted creative advocacy and community-building efforts in the wake of COVID-19  and examined the opportunities and challenges the pandemic presents for humanitarian disarmament work worldwide. Bonnie Docherty, who directs the ACCPI, authored or co-authored these pieces. The blog also features a monthly humanitarian disarmament update, written by Lan Mei JD’17. (Check out March’s key developments here.)

The new-and-improved website includes a significantly expanded library of resources on humanitarian disarmament. The resources page offers easy access to core humanitarian disarmament documents, identifies secondary sources that examine humanitarian disarmament as a cross-cutting concept, and links to other organizations that work closely on disarmament issues. As noted above, the page has added a list of resources that explore the effects of the pandemic on humanitarian disarmament.

The website has also refreshed and expanded pages on humanitarian disarmament issues and the civil society campaigns that work on them.

In the course of revamping the website, the ACCPI committed to ensuring the relaunched version is a fully accessible platform. The ACCPI retroactively modified existing website content and plans to maintain the accessibility of the website moving forward.

Bonnie Docherty and Emma Golding, then-Program Assistant with the Human Rights Program, created humanitariandisarmament.org in 2018. The website’s fresh features and the first issue of its newsletter are thanks to the work of Daniel Moubayed JD’20 and Jillian Rafferty JD/MPP’20.

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