This website does not support Internet Explorer, your current browser.
Please view the site with a modern browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
Support to Non-state Armed Groups
Overview of the Evidence on Support to Non-state Armed Groups
Our research review includes 15 studies that address the effects of support to non-state armed groups on closely related outcomes, such as civilian killings, human rights violations, and conflict recurrence. We did not find any studies meeting our inclusion criteria that addressed the effects of support to non-state armed groups on mass atrocities. Our research review found the following:
- A mix of findings as to whether support to non-state armed groups was effective in helping prevent mass atrocities or closely-related outcomes, and
- Limited evidence on which specific factors contribute to the effectiveness of support to non-state armed groups in helping prevent mass atrocities.
About Support to Non-state Armed Groups
Support to non-state armed groups is assistance—including “the provision of weapons, funds, logistics, military training and access to intelligence and sanctuaries" (Karlén 2017, p. 16)—provided by a foreign state to a non-state armed group (often referred to as a rebel group). This review does not include analyses of direct military intervention in support of a non-state armed group.
Theory of Change
If support to a non-state armed group enables the group to provide physical protection to civilian populations, to increase costs to other armed actors of committing atrocities (e.g., by attacking them in response to atrocities), or to destroy or degrade other groups’ capacities to commit atrocities, it would reduce the likelihood or severity of mass atrocities. In addition, if support to a non-state armed group enables it to defeat an abusive government and facilitate a political transition, it would reduce the likelihood or severity of mass atrocities.