Dhaka,  Tuesday
25 June 2024

Keeping humanity alive: reflecting on Geneva Conventions

Messenger Online

Published: 16:24, 29 May 2024

Keeping humanity alive: reflecting on Geneva Conventions

Photo: Collected

During any situation of war such as the independence war in Bangladesh in 1971, the international humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the rules or war, serves as a basis in safeguarding civilians, wounded combatants, and prisoners of war.

Yet, despite its crucial role, the significance and application of IHL often go unrecognized or misunderstood, said the ICRC on Wednesday (29 May).

2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which are the bedrock of modern IHL.

These universally accepted rules provide a guiding framework to limit means and methods of conduct of hostilities, in order to protect those who are not, or are no longer, participating in hostilities.

The premise of these Conventions is simple: even in armed conflict, at the worst of times, the core of our common humanity must be preserved.

This agreement must be reflected in every interpretation of the Conventions. For the past 75 years, the IHL has remained fundamental in protecting persons affected by armed conflict.

The principles enshrined in Geneva Conventions are as relevant as ever today in a world plagued by violence and polarized public opinion.

By ratifying key treaties and establishing a National IHL Committee, Bangladesh has demonstrated its commitment to adopting the Geneva Conventions and to upholding humanitarian principles, ICRC said.

It has taken significant steps towards integrating the IHL into the national legislation by drafting two domestic laws on the Geneva Conventions and the Anti-personal mine ban convention.

It is hoped that Bangladesh authorities will continue their efforts to consolidate these achievements for the full integration of IHL in the national legislation, it said.

Head of Delegation of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Bangladesh Agnes Dhur on Wednesday said the ICRC in Bangladesh will be undertaking several outreach events and initiatives to observe this historic milestone: namely, online quiz competition, media competition on the relevance.

"I will be also engaging high level authorities, academics as well as general audience to highlight Bangladesh's efforts in promoting and implementing IHL, Dhur said.

"Today, as we commemorate the milestone of the 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles of humanity that have guided us for three-quarters of a century."

"They are testament to the power of humanity in adversity. On this historic occasion, let us remember the words of Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross: "The only real progress lies in learning to be more humane."