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Niger: ICRC calls for parliamentary action to enhance protection of civilians in armed conflict

15-02-2002 News Release 02/12

The African Parliamentary Union's first Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict in Africa will begin in the Niger capital Niamey on 18 February with an opening address by Mr Mahamane Ousmane, President of the country's National Assembly.

Geneva (ICRC) - The African Parliamentary Union's* first Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict in Africa will begin in the Niger capital Niamey on 18 February with an opening address by Mr Mahamane Ousmane, President of the country's National Assembly.

Hosted by the National Assembly of Niger and organized with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Inter-Parliamentary Union** and the governments of Canada, Switzerland and Norway, the Conference aims to enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflict, with a special focus on women, children, the displaced, and other vulnerable groups. Participants from all parts of Africa will have the opportunity during the meeting's ambitious three-day programme to discuss means of strengthening parliamentary action both continent-wide and on the regional and sub-regional levels, and to explore avenues open to members of parliament for the advancement of international humanitarian law.

The ICRC is particularly encouraged by the fact that, for the first time, issues relating to protection in specific African contexts will be dealt with by legislators who in their everyday work can take tangible measures to improve the security of the individual.

During the Conference members of parliament and invited experts will be encouraged to share their knowledge and experience in specialized workshops and general debate. The event will culminate with the adoption of a Final Declaration, in addition to which delegations may make commitments for future action in a Book of Pledges.

 
 * http://www.uafparl.org/
 ** http://www.ipu.org/