Implementation of humanitarian law urged
PESHAWAR – Social welfare groups and governments must make efforts for the implementation of the international humanitarian law to protect the people who are not part of the armed conflicts, speakers at a workshop on Geneva Conventions say.
The workshop, held for local journalists, concluded on June 3. It was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross to sensitize media persons about various aspects of the international humanitarian law.
ICRC coordinator for communication programme Frederic Gouin said that the humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions required support from the civil society groups, including media and the states to force rival warring groups to obey the 400 articles of the Geneva Conventions in hostile environment.
He said that many countries had not yet introduced international humanitarian law as a subject in curriculum of their armed forces but the ICRC was helping all countries, including Pakistan to educate their armed forces about the law.
He said that in special circumstances, certain articles relating to the human rights could be suspended for a particular period by the state, but the suspension of international humanitarian law could not be allowed in a hostile region.
He said that in various armed conflicts the international humanitarian law was being violated by warring groups or states but in some cases the Geneva Conventions were being implemented, which, he added, was encouraging.
Mr. Gouin said that the ICRC regularly monitored situation in the hostile regions around the world, adding that it also assessed situation in the South Waziristan tribal region after the military operation and dispatched surgical equipments to five regional hospitals to provide treatment to the affected people.
After every conflict, he said, they make assessment of the situation and discussed it with the concerned authorities, but they did not make it public. He said that the ICRC, working in Pakistan since 1947, facilitated Afghan refugees, relocated people who left their homes due to exchange of artillery and small arms on the Line of Control and the earthquake victims in the Northern Areas.
Mr. Gouin said that the ICRC, in collaboration with the general headquarters, was providing training to the country’s three armed services for creating awareness about the essential rules of the international humanitarian law. The programme, he added, was initiated in 1998 and it would continue till 2005.