How do I learn more about IHL?

  • students pose outside red cross building

Take your knowledge and passion for international humanitarian law and learn more about it. Don’t wait, start now!

Please note that, due to the nature of the subject matter, some of this content may be inappropriate for younger age groups.



Visit the American Red Cross blog dedicated to everything IHL – Humanity in War.

Read Weekly Updates with the latest IHL developments in the international law community, detailed blog posts about recent IHL debates, and stories of how IHL and humanitarian education has changed the lives of young people, just like you.

Explore more resources to help you become an IHL expert!

Great Films

  • Blood Diamond This movie explores child soldiers, displacement, protection, internally displaced people, refugees, criminal courts and family links.
  • War Child “Left home at the age of seven/one year later I’m carryin’ an Ak-47.” For hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier in Sudan’s brutal civil war, these lyrics are hardly empty posturing. They are the bitter reality of a young man who was “forced to sin” but determined to “never give up and never give in.”
  • Restrepo – This movie is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.
  • Kandahar During the Taliban era, Kandahar follows an Afghani-Canadian woman as she attempts to enter Afghanistan in search of a despondent sister.
  • Fog of War Featuring interviews with Robert McNamara, this movie explores the experiences of the Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.
  • The Power of One This film shows how youth helped to fight apartheid in South Africa.
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – The innocence of childhood savagely collides with the Holocaust in this movie.

Recommended Reading

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are at the core of international humanitarian law.

    Understanding IHL – An overview of the law:

  • ICRC. Answers to Your Questions. Introduction to international humanitarian law that explores how even in war there are limits: limits on the conduct of warfare and limits on the behavior of combatants.

    Real-life stories and Memoirs:

  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier - Memoir written by Ishmael Beah to relate his experience during the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide.
  • Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War - In this book written by Jimmie Briggs, he relates some of the devastating stories of child soldiers he met during his career as a freelance journalist in war-torn countries.
  • War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story - This memoir by Emmanuel Jal and Megan Davies tells of Emmanuel Jal’s experience as a child soldier in Sudan in the 1990s, his exile, and the late adoption by a British aid worker that changed his life, leading him to music.


  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane - Amid the nightmarish chaos of a Civil War battle, a young soldier discovers courage, humility, and, perhaps, wisdom.
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding - A dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.


  • Prisoners of War – The Red Cross Movement: Interactive conflict map and prisoner of war game based on Geneva Conventions.

Activity Guides

The American Red Cross has developed fun activity guides for your group to use to help educate others about IHL and the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

Activity guides can be used by Red Cross Clubs, youth groups, or simply anyone interested in humanitarian education!

Artwork of Armed Conflict

Artwork of Armed Conflict is an activity that displays artwork focused on important humanitarian issues resulting from armed conflict. The artwork can be shared at your school or throughout the community.

Assistance Under Attack

Assistance Under Attack is an activity that uses a dodge ball game to helps students understand principles of IHL. Players in a traditional dodge ball game take on various roles found in conflict situations – such as wounded soldiers, civilians, and health care workers – and must make crucial decisions to simulate the complexity of conflict situations.

Bake for Humanity

Bake for Humanity is an activity where students sell baked goods and attach Red Cross and IHL facts to each item sold. It is an easy (and delicious) way to share information about IHL and donate to your local Red Cross Chapter or other humanitarian cause.

IHL in the Movies

With IHL in the Movies, you can teach IHL by watching a movie and discussing what rules and principles apply. The activity guide contains a movie suggestion list and topical questions to ensure that your IHL movie night is a success

Losing Your Most Prized Possessions

Losing Your Most Prized Possessions puts you in the shoes of a refugee or internally displaced person (IDP). By participating in this simulation, you can experience some of the struggles facing refugees and IDPs and learn about the protections offered by international humanitarian law and refugee law.

Online Platform

Join the humanitarian movement through the Humanitarian Education Learning Platform (HELP) and share humanitarian education projects worldwide.

What is HELP?

HELP is a resource for you to connect with humanitarian educators, volunteers and youth around the world, view projects that have proven effective at teaching humanitarian ideals, and upload your own IHL Action Campaigns to a global audience. 

With HELP, you can gain access to numerous projects that help youth understand the world from a humanitarian perspective and empower them to act on their humanitarian skills, following the 7 Fundamental Principles. You can search for projects by country, topic, or scroll through the discussion forum where you can post your project to receive feedback from other users.

HELP is part of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) larger initiative to make humanitarian education a priority.

How does it work?

Watch the recorded event for more information about how HELP works and the larger humanitarian education movement. The event features staff and volunteers from the American Red Cross, the IFRC, and the Swedish Red Cross.

Sign me up!

Click here to join the HELP community by creating a free account.

Already have a great humanitarian education project? Contact Yeni Simon at for details about posting it on HELP to share with humanitarians around the world.