Certificate in Human Rights in Humanitarian Action and Disaster Relief Course

Course Overview

A pressing task facing the international community is to meet the growing challenge presented by colossal humanitarian problems which are either left without a solution or inadequately dealt with under existing law and practice. Despite considerable progress in recent decades in the humanitarian field, especially through the United Nations and other international bodies, existing legal instruments and their implementation reveal certain gaps and imperfections.

Although principles of humanitarian assistance have received legal, moral and functional expression at the international level throughout the 20th century, the measures adopted in specific circumstances have often been inadequate as a response to the enormous needs which have had to be met. The relief system today functions with the participation of a wide variety of international actors including many organizations charged with responsibilities for humanitarian assistance tasks. This course identifies with an intention of applying factors which can contribute to improving humanitarian actions and the international humanitarian order.


Course Content

  • Introduction- the concept of disaster, international humanitarian assistance, international law and organization.
  • Historical perspectives on Humanitarian Assistance- custom and law in armed conflict situations, international relief for refugees, relief in natural disasters,
  • Relief Actions in armed conflict- the Geneva conventions and the Red Cross, assistance for members of armed forces, assistance for civilians.
  • Relief for refugees: The United Nations- the UNHCR statute and the 1951 convention, office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Actors in humanitarian assistance
  • Relief coordination
  • Further development of international Relief law
  • An international basis for Humanitarian Assistance-sovereign Equality and International Cooperation, Human Rights and Relief Actions, the Doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention, politics and relief
  • Red Cross humanitarian assistance
  • United nations and humanitarian assistance


After they have read the material for each unit, students are expected to test their own Learning by completing some relevant exercises and tasks.


In order to demonstrate their understanding of the course content, students will be required to submit three assignments.


DURATION: 3 Months



ORGANIZERS: Development Dimensions Africa


FORMAT: Online Learning

GENERAL COURSE CONTACT: infoinfo@humanitarianagenda.org

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