ICRC marks Geneva Conventions' 50th. anniversary

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 August 1999, 03:47 GMT]
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the modern Geneva Conventions, which falls on August 12, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched the 'people on war' project said the ICRC in a press release issued in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo today.

icrc.gifIn the project, people in 15 countries affected by war and the five Standing Committee members of the UN Security council, along with Switzerland are being asked to talk about their experiences and feelings about war, their expectations on the protection of individuals and their awareness of International Humanitarian Law.

"The survey has been completed in Columbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, El Salvador, Lebanon and the six countries living in peace," the ICRC said.

The findings of these and the other surveys will be announced at the 27th International conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies this November, the ICRC said.

"The modern Geneva, being the core of international humanitarian law, are the most important international treaties defending human dignity in war, and among the most widely ratified treaties in the world," the ICRC said.

The series of treaties, signed in Geneva, Switzerland (1864-1949), provided for humane treatment of combatants and civilians in wartime.

The First Convention (1864) signed by 16 nations, covered the protection of founded and sick soldiers and medical personnel on the battlefield.

Two later treaties extended protection to the wounded and shipwrecked in naval warfare (1906), and to treatment of prisoners of war (1929).

Consequent to the horrors of World War 2, the three existing conventions were strengthened and a fourth convention was adopted to safeguard civilians.

These four conventions, consisting of 429 articles were signed on August 12, 1949, and are known today as the Geneva Conventions. This comprises the protection of the wounded in battle, wounded and shipwrecked at sea, prisoners of war, and civilians in wartime.

In 1977, two additional protocols dealing with the prohibition of certain methods of warfare and non-international armed conflict were adopted in addition to the Geneva conventions.

"These form the essence of today's international humanitarian law," the ICRC said.


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