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... Child soldiers: Exploration 2C: Focus on child soldiers


... War crimes and IHL violations: Module 4: Dealing with violations


... Prisoners of war: Exploration 2A: Limiting the devastation of war ; Exploration 5C: Focus on protecting prisoners

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PDF versions are now available in sixteen languages:

Which of EHL's audiovisual supports inspires pupils most?



Download the lessons in PDF:


Introductory exploration: Images and perceptions


Module 1: The humanitarian perspective


Module 2: Limits in armed conflict


Module 3: The law in action


Module 4: Dealing with violations


Module 5: Responding to the consequences of armed conflict


Closing exploration: Where do we go from here?

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Welcome to the EHL Virtual Campus!

Teaching young people the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law.


The Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) Virtual Campus is an ICRC resource centre for educators who want to:

  • teach the values underpinning international humanitarian law, such as respect for life and human dignity
  • explore with their students the ethical and humanitarian issues that arise during armed conflict
  • develop their students' capacity to analyze complex situations
  • use high-quality primary source materials (videos, photos, letters, etc.) to help students capture the feeling of people who lived through difficult situations

A wide range of resources is available, such as learning modules, workshops, training videos and a discussion forum.
Mini EHL is out!

Mini EHL: The essence of humanitarian law

This new resource kit introduces young people to the principles and basic rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). It provides 5 x 45 minutes of sequential learning activities designed for both formal and non-formal education settings for young people and other interested groups. It can be used in the framework of a half-day workshop or over the course of five individual sessions. Mini EHL was developed by the ICRC on the basis of the Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) education programme and includes new exercises and source materials.

The learning materials are based on real-life situations and show how IHL aims to protect life and human dignity during armed conflict and to prevent and reduce the suffering and the devastation caused by war. By studying the behaviour of actual persons and the dilemma they experience, young people develop a new perspective and begin to understand the need for rules during war as well as the complexity of their application.

The brochure is available in English and French. It can be ordered or downloaded here
Any questions about Mini EHL? Please refer to the Mini EHL Q&A

When does IHL apply?

IHL applies in all situations of armed conflict. There are a number of different scenarios that can be defined as armed conflict. A number of factors have to be taken into account before characterizing a situation as an armed conflict and therefore subject to the rules of IHL.

It is a widely accepted principle that any difference between opposing parties that leads to the use of armed force results in armed conflict. An armed conflict may be either ‘international’ (between two or more States) or ‘non-international’ (between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a State). It is important to stress that one type of armed conflict can also develop into the other.

For IHL to apply, the de facto occurrence of hostilities is sufficient, even without a formal declaration of war and even if one of the parties denies the existence of a state of war.

IHL does not apply in situations of internal violence, such as demonstrations, disturbances, riots or internal tensions. However, it is often difficult to make a clear distinction between non-international armed conflicts and such situations.

Source: IHL Guide


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