© Boris Heger, ICRC
ARMED NON-STATE ACTORS
The research project focuses on the practice and interpretation of humanitarian norms of selected armed non-state actors, according to their types, ideology and geographical location. The following ANSAs will be studied for the project: APCLS and NDC-R (Democratic Republic of the Congo); MNLA (Mali); Somaliland (Somalia); the Taliban (Afghanistan); MILF/BIAF and NDFP/NPA (the Philippines); KNU/KNLA and RCSS/SSA-S (Myanmar); YPG/YPJ/SDF/AANES (Syria); IS and Al Qaeda (Syria) and FARC-EP (Colombia). This page contains information about the two first case studies that have been completed.
Mali – Mouvement National de libération de l’Azawad (MNLA)
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad, MNLA) is a secular independentist movement formed in 2011 as a result of the merger of previous Tuareg rebellions and fighters returning from Libya after the collapse of the Gadhafi regime. Although it is largely composed of ethnic Tuaregs, the MNLA has presented itself as a movement fighting for the right to self-determination of all the peoples of “Azawad”, a territory considered its homeland in northern Mali. The MNLA launched its first armed attacks against Malian government forces in January 2012 and in a few months gained control of large areas, including the cities of Timbuktu and Gao, before being evicted by radical Islamist groups. At the beginning of 2013, after the military intervention of France, the MNLA demanded autonomy during talks with the government and signed the 2015 Peace Agreement under the banner of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA). The Peace Agreement did not put an end to the conflict however, as the CMA still controls territory in the northern part of the country and has engaged in hostilities with both pro-government ANSAs and Islamist groups after 2015.
Case Study MNLA
Colombia – FARC
The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) was an ‘armed opposition group’ mainly active between 1964–2017 –although some sources date its ‘official’ origin to 1966– a period in which it managed to constitute itself as a military and political organization throughout the entire Colombian territory. The FARC-EP followed a Marxist-Leninist ideology, also displaying a special adaptation to the rural areas of Colombia, which some observers have denominated as a mix of agrarianism, Marxism and ‘Bolivarism’. While active, the FARC-EP modified its organizational structure through three stages. First it was constituted as a peasant self-defence movement; then it became a ‘mobile guerrilla formation’; and finally, the FARC-EP developed itself as an army. Throughout its existence, the FARC-EP was a party to various NIACs, including against the government of Colombia and paramilitary groups. Its existence as an ANSA ended after the conclusion of the 2016 Peace Agreement, when it was clear that the hostilities had ceased and there was no real risk of their resumption.