About this project

Human rights organizations addressing issues of armed conflict—especially armed conflict within the Middle East and North Africa—typically focus on narrow questions of legal compliance and limit their investigations to the conduct of warring parties. This approach risks perpetuating a reflexive acceptance of armed conflict and a militarized U.S. foreign policy, whereas an alternative approach that questions the legality of the use or force and opposes a foreign policy predominantly based on military force could result in less violence and a greater respect for human rights. To examine these issues, DAWN convened a selective workshop, Human Rights Go to War, under Chatham House Rule and co-sponsored by the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. To spur further debate on these critical questions at the intersection of U.S. foreign policy, armed conflict, and human rights, DAWN has released a set of recommendations, workshop report, and published several articles adapted from the workshop in its journal, Democracy in Exile.

"By emphasizing narrow technical questions of compliance with international humanitarian law instead of broader policy and political considerations, human rights organizations risk perpetuating an unquestioned acceptance of armed conflict and overly militarized foreign policies."

- Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN

Help DAWN protect the lives and rights of Palestinians in Gaza.

We’re fighting for a ceasefire and accountability for Israeli and U.S. officials responsible for war crimes in Gaza.