Armed Non-State Actors’ Responsibilities for Human Rights

The paper explores whether armed non-state actors (ANSAs) should become bearers of responsibilities for human rights, in particular in situations where it is unlikely that they are accepted as full human rights duty-bearers. Through an interpretation of relevant human rights provisions in light of international human rights courts’ and treaty bodies’ ‘jurisprudence’, the paper first establishes what is meant by ‘responsibilities for human rights’. It highlights that they oblige their bearers to not undermine and to proactively support human rights duty-bearers – usually states – to discharge their human rights duties. It also explores on what basis (e.g. capacity) they can be allocated to concrete responsibility-bearers, recognising that, unlike human rights duties, they do not depend on jurisdiction. Second, the paper examines whether there are indications that ANSAs already assume responsibilities for selected human rights, and if so, what scope these responsibilities might have.