AS the world prepares to celebrate International Humanitarian Law Day, violent conflict continues to escalate in several parts of the world. In such episodes of conflict, the primordial goal for relief organizations such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent Society is to protect the lives of non-combatants and encourage the protagonists to abide by International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
IHL seeks to ensure that persons who do not take a direct part in hostilities are protected and captured combatants are given respect for their lives, dignity, personal rights, and conviction. As a humanitarian organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross is mandated to foster public awareness of IHL principles through effective dissemination. It coordinates with National Societies like the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) in campaigning for greater respect for IHL.
IHL traces its origins to about 60 years ago, not long after World War II, when four Geneva Conventions for the protection of victims of war were established on August 12, 1949, at a diplomatic conference attended by delegates from 63 states. …