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International Humanitarian Law

III.10 Special protection against CRSV is owed to population in occupied territory

In situations of occupation, occupying States (also known as occupying powers) have heightened duties under IHL. Territory is considered occupied when under the authority of adverse foreign armed forces, and the occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

If this is the case, occupying powers must take measures to restore and ensure public order and safety and, if possible, respect the laws in force in the occupied territory, including the applicable rules of IHRL and IHL. This obligation comprises the duty to protect the inhabitants of occupied territory against acts of violence, 'and not to tolerate such violence by any third party'. Occupying powers can be held responsible for failing to take all measures in their power to prevent violations of IHRL and IHL by their armed forces and other actors present in occupied territory.

International Humanitarian Law

III.6 Special protection against CRSV is owed to refugees, stateless persons and transferred persons

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, 'protected persons' are those who, at a given moment and in any manner, are in the hands of a party to the conflict or occupying power. Refugees who qualify as protected persons within the meaning of the Convention benefit from the protection owed to non-nationals in the hands of a party to the conflict or occupying power. Stateless persons also qualify as protected persons.

In addition, refugees who are not, in fact, under any government's protection, enjoy special protection under article 44 of the Convention. In applying measures of control and security in regard to protected persons as may be necessary because of the war, States must not treat refugees as enemy non-nationals exclusively on the basis of their nationality, in law, of an enemy State. Refugees in occupied territory that are not considered protected persons also enjoy certain protections under article 70(2) of the Convention. For the purposes of IHL, the term 'refugee' should be understood in a broad sense; the only criterion being that the individual in question does not 'enjoy the protection of any government'.

International Humanitarian Law

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Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

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Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

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