The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) is an independent, non-profit organisation founded in 1970 in Sanremo, Italy. It is based in Villa Ormond, a classic turn-of-the-20th Century villa, generously provided by the Municipality of Sanremo.
The mission of the Institute is to promote International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Refugee Law and related issues.
The Institute’s primary role in achieving this mission is to educate with regards to topics concerning International Humanitarian Law applicable to Armed Conflict on land, air and sea, Human Rights and Refugee Law. It has a well-developed training programme for military personnel, lawyers, officials from governments and non-governmental organisations and other interested parties. Expert staff stimulate dialogue, reflection and the exchange of views and experiences capitalising upon the varied array of opinions and experiences derived from its multicultural participants. The Institute also promotes research and publishes findings in new developments in the field. Through its multi-dimensional approach to International Humanitarian Law, the Institute demonstrates how Humanitarian, Human Rights and Refugee Law are all interrelated and inter-dependent.
The IIHL has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and operational relations with UNESCO. It also holds consultative status with the Council of Europe and collaborates with various other regional organisations, including the Secretariat of the Commonwealth and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The Institute has a liaison office in Geneva where contacts with diplomatic missions, the UN system, humanitarian organisations and institutions are developed.
The IIHL also conducts its various activities in cooperation with other international organisations, in particular, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Close links are also maintained with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The IIHL also cooperates with various non-governmental organisations, military and academic institutions.
The Institute’s independent location in Sanremo offers a huge benefit to attendees in attracting a wide range of nationalities. Such diversity encourages course attendees to participate in in-depth discussion and exchange of views on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) at many different levels, and is highly conducive to superior learning and networking. The unique multi-national environment created has come to be known as ‘The Spirit of Sanremo’.