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Respect for international humanitarian law in armed conflicts and action by the ICRC for persons protected by the Geneva Conventions

31-12-1986 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 256

25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23 to 31 October 1986, Resolution 1

The Twenty-fifth International Conference of the Red Cross,

 having taken note of the ICRC's Annual Reports since 1981, the five-year report covering 1981 to 1985 and the half-yearly report for 1986 presented to the Conference by the ICRC and having heard the report on respect for international humanitarian law in armed conflicts, delivered by the President of the ICRC,

 observing with concern the increase in the number of ongoing armed conflicts and the very long duration of several of the conflicts,

 having taken note of the report of the President of the ICRC, particularly of the difficulties encountered by the ICRC in its efforts to protect and assist military and civilian victims of armed conflicts,

 observing that the violations of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions in several of these armed conflicts seriously impede the humanitarian work of the ICRC and thus worsen the plight of the victims,

 deploring the indiscriminate attacks inflicted on civilian populations, the use of prohibited weapons such as chemical weapons, the forceful displacement of civilian populations by occupation troops and the destruction of civilian housing in violation of the laws and customs of war,

 noting a disturbing decline in respect for international humanitarian law, particularly as regards the treatment of prisoners of war, civilian internees and other persons captured in armed conflicts, and as regards the conduct of hostilities and the treatment of civilian populations in violation of the laws and customs of war,

 recalling Resolution 111 of the Twenty-fourth International Conference of the Red Cross which reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Arab occupied territories in the Middle East in 1967,

 deeply concerned at the difficulties created for the ICRC in its efforts to protect and assist all the military and civilian victims of armed conflicts, including during the carrying out of relief operations,

 1. regrets that disputes about the legal classification of conflicts too often hinder the implementation of international humanitarian law and the ICRC's work,

 2. appeals to all Parties involved in armed conflicts to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and to enable the ICRC to carry out its humanitarian activities,

 3. appeals in particular to all such Parties to grant regular access to the ICRC to all prisoners in armed conflicts covered by international humanitarian law and to carry out the early repatriation by phases of prisoners of war in accordance with the Third Geneva Convention and further beyond its provisions as might be acceptable in the interest of humanitarian considerations,

 4. also appeals to Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fully carry out their obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and to enable the ICRC to fulfil its humanitarian tasks in that context,

 5. reminds all Parties to the Geneva Conventions of their common obligation to respect and ensure respect for those Conventions in all circumstances, and invites them to support the ICRC in carrying out its humanitarian activities,

 6. expresses its conviction that the strict application of the Geneva Conventions could contribute to the peaceful settlement of, conflicts,

 7. invites the ICRC to inform all Parties to the Geneva Conventions, in accordance with the ICRC rules of confidentiality, of the progress made in the respect for and application of international humanitarian law.




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