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- University professors discuss IHL, Islam, and the protection of people affected by conflict
- Management of limb injuries during disasters and conflicts
- Publication du 3° protocole additionnel au JORF
- Statement on the protection of health services
- African students practice international humanitarian law at continental competition
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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) together with Islamic Research Institute, a think tank of International Islamic University Islamabad organized a regional course on Islam and international humanitarian law (IHL) from 29 November to 02 December 2016.
Twenty six university professors of Islamic studies participated from all over Pakistan and Afghanistan. Participation of Islamic scholars from Afghanistan not only provided an insight to the ongoing dialogue on Islam and IHL from across the border but also an opportunity to develop trans-border academic linkages. The four-day training course was opened by the federal minister of state for religious affairs, Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah who categorically stressed the compatibility of humanitarian law with Islamic legal system. In his address, he lamented the dwindling respect of humanitarian rules in modern day conflicts. He reminded the participants of their ethical obligations to encourage respect and compliance to humanitarian rules in their academic and literati capacities.
Reto Stocker, head of ICRC delegation in Pakistan, mentioned that majority of ICRC’s humanitarian operations are carried out in Muslim countries due to the ongoing conflicts and accompanying humanitarian toll. The only way we can minimize the people’s suffering is by strengthening the adherence to humanitarian principles, derived from Islamic sources, IHL and customary rules. He stressed on the significant role the Islamic scholars can play in their respective societies in influencing the policy makers and weapon bearers in ensuring the respect and dignity of human lives even during difficult times of conflict and violence.
During four days, the participants had detailed discussions and debates on the topics varying from principles of IHL, development of Islamic law of Siyar to significance of Islamic Ethics of War in modern world. Topics like protection of healthcare under Islamic law and IHL, and development of model curriculum on Islam and IHL also received significant attention. Muhammad Saleem, an educationist from Swat, particularly appreciated the informed exchanges which took place among the participants on IHL application. « The role of university teachers in IHL promotion and application through integration in curriculum was the crux of this course in my opinion. »
Whereas, Dr Umair Mehmood Siddiqui from University of Karachi termed his experience as an eye opener towards the significance of this important field of Islamic law. « Since many Muslim countries are trapped in a bitter conflict, promoting Islamic law of war and its parallels in contemporary IHL provides us an opportunity to introduce true Islamic code of conduct during wars. This way we can claim back the space ceded to non-representative forces. »
At the end of the course, three participants volunteered to write an academic report on various topics discussed during the course to be published in ‘Fikr-o-Nazar, an Urdu language research journal published by Islamic Research Institute. The lessons learned from years of cooperation in academic circles – including Islamic scholars – in the Muslim world confirm that knowledge of IHL and of Islamic law is crucial for respect of humanitarian principles. While highlighting similarities between the relevant provisions of Islam and IHL, the ICRC provide documentation and generally encourage Islamic researchers and teachers to study and teach IHL, and publish articles on it.
Source : ICRC
For the millions of people who are trapped within the clutches of conflicts and natural disasters around the world today, the physical and psychological pain can be devastating.
Not only do many people suffer horrendously from direct physical shocks, they are often at risk of compounded injury, because of inadequate or inexistent medical treatment. Currently, a baseline standard of care for the victims of many crises is far from guaranteed.
In fact, poorly prepared and ill-equipped medical teams can actually heighten risks for the most vulnerable, even if such teams have the best of intentions. The medical response of the international community in Haiti in 2010 was a bleak reminder of how inadequate medical care can be a burden for the local population rather than a relief.
I have seen the horrors of conflict reflected in the eyes of people who have lost their limbs in conflict.
If we do not improve our capacity to provide quality medical assistance, the costs will be human lives and long-term disability. And these costs will be immense.
This is why, in 2014, the ICRC launched a new health strategy, which charts a promising path for improving healthcare for the most vulnerable. Not only are we working hard to improve the quality of our medical services, but we are also chartering new ways to scale up and broaden our impact. For example, the ICRC has launched the world’s first humanitarian impact bond: an innovative funding mechanism that draws in new capital to support physical rehabilitation. Many of the people who will benefit from this initiative are those who have lost limbs in conflict. By helping to bridge the substantial gap between needs and resources for physical rehabilitation, we will help more people overcome the destructive impact of losing limbs, and to re-establish productive, dignified lives. It is not only individuals who will benefit, but also societies as a whole, through long-term improvements in social cohesion and economic growth.
The aggressive and brutal impacts of conflict and disaster demand a treatment that is different from common trauma management. Conflict and disaster-specific training of medical staff is therefore crucial to effective relief. The majority of patients suffering during war and disaster – that is, those who reach hospitals alive – have limb injuries, mostly with open and infected fractures. They also frequently suffer from ballistic injury. As the technologies of modern warfare change, it will be imperative that we advance our treatments.
Inadequate treatment will result in unnecessary, preventable complications that threaten life and limb. Not only will poor surgical treatment fail to reduce suffering, it may actually increase harm.
Recognising the potential for crisis to be compounded by poor medical care, in 2015 the ICRC and the WHO undertook to establish a global consensus on treatment standards for the most frequent injuries caused by disaster and conflict: limb injuries. As is the case with so many of our activities, we cannot and should not act alone. We gathered a group of academic, military, and humanitarian specialists, and used the power of collaboration to establish solid standards of treatment.
Funding from the AO Foundation has made this significant endeavor possible, and we are now able to see the fruits of this collaboration. It is my pleasure to be able to launch, today, the field guide on management of limb injuries during disasters and conflicts. This marks an important step in our mission to improve care and mitigate long-term impairment and loss of life. I congratulate the team that worked hard to make this achievement possible.
The launch of this guidebook is not an endpoint, but rather the start of a continuous process. As the world encounters new disasters and conflicts, we will need to ensure that the guidance is up-to-speed and responds to needs as they develop.
The international community has learnt its lessons from Haiti. Looking forward, emergency medical teams will be better prepared to improve the health of people who are suffering from the debilitating impacts of disaster, violence and conflict.
By combining our collective expertise and ingenuity, we have a clear opportunity to deliver the best possible assistance. It is my hope that the international community will continue to share knowledge and build upon these strong foundations, in an effort to provide more effective relief, and to facilitate productive, dignified futures.
The lives of the most vulnerable hang in the balance.
Le protocole additionnel aux conventions de Genève du 12 août 1949 relatif à l’adoption d’un signe distinctif additionnel (protocole III) (ensemble une annexe), adopté à Genève le 8 décembre 2005, a été publié au Journal officiel de la République française le 19 décembre 2016 :
Décret no 2016-1773 du 19 décembre 2016 portant publication du protocole additionnel aux conventions de Genève du 12 août 1949 relatif à l’adoption d’un signe distinctif additionnel (protocole III) (ensemble une annexe), adopté à Genève le 8 décembre 2005.
The last week has seen the surge of violence in Syria’s city of Aleppo, in which every hospital in the rebel-held east Aleppo has been damaged to the extent of putting them out of service (a statement confirmed by the World Health Organization), leaving more than 250,000 men, women, and children living in east Aleppo without access to health care. In light of this, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) wants to reaffirm its firm stance against violations of International Humanitarian Law and attacks on health care workers, facilities and systems.
Whenever a patient, a nurse, a doctor or any other component of health care system is attacked, be it threats or actual violence, it has not only direct consequences for the affected and their health, but also on the health of the served populations, causing ripples across the delivery of health care. This disruption restricts the access to health care and is therefore a violation of human rights. In fact, violence against health workers and health facilities is a crime under the International Humanitarian Law, causing only death, destruction and disruption of basic health care services.
These attacks in Aleppo are only a small fraction of numerous attacks against health care workers, medical transports and facilities, which have taken place in several countries, like Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, during the past years. Almost 200 health care workers lost their lives in more than 113 attacks against health care in the first half of 2016 [WHO]. These attacks place a heavy burden on fragile health care systems already affected by conflicts.
Guided and committed to IFMSA’s policy statements on Protection of Health Services and Assuring Access to Medical and Humanitarian aid in Syria (adopted in March 2014), we repeatedly call all responsible actors to give urgent attention to attacks on health care.
We immediately call on the United Nations organs and commissions, which hold governments to account to fulfill their obligations under international human rights and international humanitarian law, to ensure the right to health, a right that is closely and inextricably linked to the rights to life, human dignity, non-discrimination, equality and the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment, is upheld. In order to advance the protection of health services and patients and by these means reach better health for all, there is a broad range of actions to be taken by a number of different actors. Among them, we consider it most important to call for:
All Parties to:
Recognize violence against the health sector as violation of International Humanitarian Law
Respect International Humanitarian Law & Human Rights law, secure access to health care and safety of involved personnel, vehicles and facilities, and gather data on violence against the health sector in and out of conflict zones
Highlight the occurrence of violence towards the health sector in reports on the health situation during disasters
Unblock the humanitarian assistance to help the population that is caught up in the violence
Health Sector (including Medical Students) to:
Take up own responsibilities, such as adhering to the Declaration of Geneva and treat every person in need according to his/her personal needs, without discrimination based on age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor
Advocate for better health services protection
Promote the inclusion of disaster risk reduction knowledge in relevant sections of school curricula
Promote International Humanitarian Law, human rights and the Declaration of Geneva and raise awareness on the topic among medical students, medical professionals as well as civil society
Share information about first aid and medical procedures on platforms that people in Aleppo have access to, in order to encourage the ability of saving more lives
The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, it is one of the worlds oldest and largest student-run organizations. It represents, connects and engages every day with an inspiring and engaging network of 1.3 million medical students from 130 national member organizations in 122 countries around the globe.
Source: Safeguarding health in conflict
The 16th annual All Africa International Humanitarian Law Competition took place in Arusha, Tanzania from 12-19 November 2016. This year’s competition had a total of eleven teams from nine African countries. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Zimbabwe were represented. Each of the participating teams had three students.
The students were put in fictitious but realistic scenarios in which they were required to use their knowledge of international humanitarian law to achieve certain objectives like negotiating for humanitarian access or convincing senior diplomats of their legal arguments. The teams also underwent daily classroom study followed by court submissions in which the judges evaluated their grasp of what they had been taught.
According to Paul Kunsa, a student from Uganda, the competition »brought out the pragmatic part of law, » since »you get to act as a worker for the ICRC, you get to work as a medical personnel so you get to know the actual challenges in getting out the law to the people. »
The teams were judged by a panel of experts. Hillary Kiboro, one of the judges from ICRC, noted the teams’ skill sets made judging « very tough » because all the teams « displayed significant growth » throughout the competition. Uganda Christian University emerged as the winners, and Midlands State University from Zimbabwe came second during a final session held at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
This was the first time that the ICRC collaborated with the African Court to host the competition as well as to be part of the judging process. Other judges were from the East African Court of Justice, the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, and the Tanzania High Court.
The 16th annual All Africa International Humanitarian Law Competition witnessed a total of 11 teams from 9 African countries. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mike Mina