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Dissemination of knowledge of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts
Dissemination of knowledge of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts


    The Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts, Geneva, 1974-1977,

    Convinced that a sound knowledge of international humanitarian law is an essential factor for its effective application,

    Confident that widespread knowledge of that law will contribute to the promotion of humanitarian ideals and a spirit of peace among nations,

    1. Reminds the High Contracting Parties that under the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 they have undertaken to disseminate knowledge of those Conventions as widely as possible, and that the Protocols adopted by the Conference reaffirm and extend that obligation;

    2. Invites the signatory States to take all appropriate measures to ensure that knowledge of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts, and of the fundamental principles on which that law is based, is effectively disseminated, particularly by :

    (a) encouraging the authorities concerned to plan and give effect, if necessary with the assistance and advice of the International Committee of the Red Cross, to arrangements to teach international humanitarian law, particularly to the armed forces and to appropriate administrative authorities, in a manner suited to national circumstances;

    (b) undertaking in peacetime the training of suitable persons to teach international humanitarian law and to facilitate the application thereof, in accordance with Articles 6 and 82 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I);

    (c) recommending that the appropriate authorities intensify the teaching of international humanitarian law in universities (faculties of law, political science, medicine, etc.);

    (d) recommending to educational authorities the introduction of courses on the principles of international humanitarian law in secondary and similar schools;

    3. Urges National Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Lion and Sun Societies to offer their service to the authorities in their own countries with a view to the effective dissemination of knowledge of international humanitarian law;

    4. Invites the International Committee of the Red Cross to participate actively in the effort to disseminate knowledge of international humanitarian law by, inter alia :

    (a) publishing material that will assist in teaching international humanitarian law, and circulating appropriate information for the dissemination of the Geneva Conventions and the Protocols,

    (b) organizing, on its own initiative or when requested by Governments or National Societies, seminars and courses on international humanitarian law, and co-operating for that purpose with States and appropriate institutions.

    Fifty-fifth plenary meeting 7 June 1977


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