Sri Lanka: Authorities meet to discuss national implementation of IHL
On 3 July Sri Lanka’s National Committee on international humanitarian law (IHL) held its first meeting of 2013. This inter-ministerial meeting discussed progress made by the various institutions affiliated to the Committee to disseminate, promote and implement IHL.
"Translating the Geneva Conventions into Sinhala and Tamil and drafting national law on the biological weapons convention are priorities for the National IHL Committee for this year," said the Chairman of the Committee. "In times of peace, even more than in times of war, the National IHL Committee has a responsibility to ensure adequate implementation of IHL in national legislation. It is with this in mind that this group should seek to strengthen the implementation and promotion of and education in IHL in Sri Lanka."
Representatives of the ministries of external affairs, health, culture, education and defence, the armed forces, police and the legal draftsman's department attended the meeting, held at the Ministry of External Affairs. The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society participated, for the first time, as an observer.
In 2000, Sri Lanka established its National IHL Committee, following a cabinet decision. The Committee's mandate is to look into issues relating to the national implementation of international humanitarian law and to promote accession to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of an Armed Conflict.
Since the National IHL Committee was created, the ICRC has worked closely with it. "The ICRC looks forward to continuing its support to the work of the National IHL Committee by providing technical expertise on IHL", said Chérine Pollini, ICRC head of delegation.
Today, Sri Lanka is a party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol, the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property, Conventions banning Biological Weapons and Chemical Weapons and the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons and its first four protocols.