The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law

The English version of Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier's book, The Practical guide to Humanitarian Law.

The book is now available and can be ordered from your local bookshop or internet service, if not immediately available.

For more information about the book, including reviews:

Definitions are often the first step toward granting or denying a person's rights. The aim of The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law is to return precise meaning and content to terms such as 'refugee', 'genocide' and 'human rights' - terms that the media have introduced into everyday conversation, yet whose legal and political meanings are often obscure. The Guide explains the terms, concepts and rules of humanitarian law in accessible and reader-friendly alphabetical entries. Written from the perspective of victims and those who bring them assistance, it outlines the dangers, spells out the law and points the way toward dealing with violators and violations of the law.

Entries in the Guide are complemented by detailed bibliographic references; addresses, phone numbers and internet address of the organisations presented; two indices; and an up-to-date list of the status of ratification of the more than twenty international conventions and treaties concerning humanitarian law, human rights, refugees and international criminal law.

Author: Francoise Bouchet-Saulnier is the legal counsel for Médecins Sans Frontieres Foundation in Paris, France.


David A. Hamburg, MD, President Emeritus
Carnegie Cooperation of New York

"Unique... As violent conflagrations erupt in many parts of the world, this book provides a very useful guide to exceedingly difficult territory, including the specific organisations and institutions that dealt with these harsh problems. The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law is clear and not technical, yet precise and well documented. Altogether, it is a valuable contribution to our ceaseless quest for a more compassionate humanity."

Michael Ignatieff, Harvard University

"Anyone who works or lives in the world's zones of danger needs to have a practical knowledge of international humanitarian law. This guide is clear, accessible and reliable. So it is invaluable."

Le Monde

"This work, which gathers together in simple and clear terms a set of laws from multiple and misunderstood international conventions, is also in its way a response to the current malaise of the 'humanitarian' world. In essence ... what else is there to fall back on except the law?"