Last week in Geneva (9-12 December 2019), a NATO delegation attended the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, in an observer capacity. The Organization formally pledged to continue a substantive dialogue with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to identify areas where training and education provided by NATO on international humanitarian law may be further enhanced.
Humanitarian aspects of contemporary conflicts
The Conference, which meets every four years, is the supreme deliberative body of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. It “debates humanitarian issues and adopts resolutions that guide its participants in carrying out humanitarian activities. It promotes respect for, and contributes to the development of international humanitarian law.”
Participants include over 180 Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies and more than 190 states that are party to the Geneva Conventions; observers from other humanitarian organisations; and international organisations.
NATO’s dialogue with ICRC
The renewed pledge demonstrates the Alliance’s overarching support for the principles of international humanitarian law and its commitment to engage with the international community to promote these principles in practice. NATO is committed to including measures to protect civilians affected by armed conflict in the Alliance’s military doctrine, education, training, planning, exercises and conduct of operations.
NATO’s relations with the ICRC encompass staff-level engagements and regular exchanges between the NATO Secretary General and the ICRC President.