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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The national law of individual states is generally clear as to the criteria for defining which entities make up the armed forces, as well as who is entitled to be a member of the armed forces. Whether a state is bound by its human rights obligations while taking part in an international armed conflict outside its own territory, is a complex issue. This chapter examines the term ‘armed forces’, who are entitled to be called members of the armed forces, a state’s national law in relation to its international law obligations, and the role of human rights law from the standpoint of members of the armed forces and others who take an active part in an armed conflict. It also discusses the relationship between peacekeeping and human rights, the role of the United Nations, why members of the armed forces commit human rights violations, the human rights of soldiers, and the right to conscientious objection to military service.

Keywords: national law, armed forces, human rights, armed conflict, international law, human rights law, peacekeeping, United Nations, conscientious objection, military service

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