New wars are defined by their innate disposition to blur distinctions and human rights violations while structurally undermining the enjoyment of human rights. These wars are self-fueling human rights cataclysms that destroy society and its social contract by blurring the distinction between government, army and people. These characteristics prolong into what is perceived as post-conflict and blur the distinction between war and peace. The lack of acknowledgment and understanding of these characteristics among the actors who provide relief and seek resolution to the conflict undermines the effectiveness of their actions and the coordination among them resulting in aid gaps. The human rights canon is constantly used and abused in the hodgepodge of activities deployed in early recovery. The omnipotent presence of human rights in the new war context justifies using the human rights canon to define the end of a new war. Legal concepts within international law and the specific characteristics of new wars provide the human rights that are applicable in the new war context and define the end of a new war. Providing a definition for the end of a new war is conducive to consensus among those involved on whether a state is in a phase of conflict, postconflict, peace or development. Additionally, this research assists in understanding the new war context. Such consensus on and increased understanding of the context contributes to diminishing aid gaps by improving cooperation and coordination.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

First Advisor

Korhonen, Outi

Committee Member 1

Lorite, Alejandro

Committee Member 2

Sayed, Hani

Document Type



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