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Colombia: Humanitarian law makes further headway in universities

12-09-2002 News Release 02/37

On 28 August, the Universidad Externado de Colombia started up its second special course on international humanitarian law, which is being run in cooperation with the ICRC and the Colombian Red Cross.

Around 50 students, drawn from the security forces, government agencies and civil society, are enrolled in the course.

In a separate development, five universities in Cali and Tunja completed the first stage – the training of instructors – of plans to offer humanitarian law through their law and humanities faculties. The universities presented the ICRC with a number of proposals concerning the place of humanitarian law within their respective course programmes. The proposals will be examined during the final quarter of 2002, with a view to their implementation in 2003.

Given the intensification and polarization of the armed conflict in Colombia, which is not without implications for university life, it is hoped that the teaching of humanitarian law will serve to raise awareness among intellectuals and the next generation of Colombian decision-makers of the humanitarian issues facing the country and of their responsibility to ensure that the principles of humanitarian law are respected and implemented.