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Colombia: Colombian ambassadors at ICRC Headquarters

06-11-1997 News Release 97/44

At the initiative of Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ICRC invited the country's ambassadors in Europe to a one-day seminar on the Red Cross and international humanitarian law in Geneva on 31 October last.  The participants, who were accompanied by Colombia's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, included a former President of the Republic, several former government ministers and three former commanders of the Colombian armed forces.

The seminar covered the following main topics: challenges facing the ICRC and its humanitarian action, differences between international humanitarian law and human rights law, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, ICRC operations for conflict victims, and promoting knowledge of international humanitarian law among the armed forces. The ICRC also voiced its concern regarding recent developments in the armed conflict in Colombia and the growing number of uncontrolled armed groups there, and restated the offer of its services in seeking a negotiated solution to the conflict.

The participants were received by ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga and by the organization's Delegate General for the Americas and the head of its delegation in Colombia, who all stressed the ICRC's good working relations with the parties to the conflict and the fact that its delegates had unimpeded access to the entire territory of the country.