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25 Years of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 - Original Geneva Convention of 1864 now in Geneva museum.

07-06-2002 News Release 02/33

The original document of the Geneva Convention of 1864 has now been returned to Geneva on loan and will be accessible for broader public viewing in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

Joint communication to the press by:

 SWISS FEDERAL DEPARTEMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS  

 INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC)  

 INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT MUSEUM (MICR)  

 SWISS FEDERAL ARCHIVES  

At the " 25 Years of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 " ceremonies, Federal Councilor Joseph Deiss today presented the original document of the Geneva Convention of 1864 to the director of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Roger Mayou. The document, which was previously safeguarded in the Swiss Federal Archives, has now been returned to Geneva on loan. Hence, for the first time, it will become accessible for broader public viewing in the museum.
 
The presentation took place in the presence of Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as representatives of Geneva officialdom and the Swiss Federal Archives.
 
Federal Councilor Deiss emphasized in his ceremonial address the undiminished significance of international humanitarian law today. " Let us strengthen our commitment to observe international humanitarian law " , he urged in his appeal, noting that humanity still stands at the gateway on the route to a more humane world. International humanitarian law, he added, cannot be applied selectively. The Swiss foreign minister pointed out the great discrepancy between legal obligations and practical reality. Moreover, many states have not yet ratified the Additional Protocols. The task remains to respect the Geneva Conventions under all circumstances and to ensure respect for them in order to provide minimum protection to victims of armed conflict. Ensuring application of existing law will remain our central task.
 
The ”Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field“ signed in Geneva in 1864 marked the initial codification of international humanitarian law. Switzerland is the depository and a State Party to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 as well as the two Additional Protocols of 1977.