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Israel and the occupied / autonomous territories: Humanitarian law programme introduced into Palestinian schools

22-04-2003 News Release 03/41

On 16 April the ICRC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Palestinian Authority aimed at introducing the Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) programme into the Palestinian educational system.

The programme, which is designed for young people worldwide, was initiated and developed by the ICRC in 1998. It consists of a comprehensive teaching module and resource materials and can be easily included in existing school curricula. Initial steps for its implementation have now been taken in 70 countries, 10 of which are already piloting it in classrooms. The ICRC is also working at introducing the programme into the Israeli school system in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Magen David Adom.

The ICRC believes that it is of utmost importance to convey its humanitarian message to young people. " Today's youngsters are tomorrow's adults, " said Francois Bellon, ICRC head of delegation. " They will take part in the public affairs of their countries, they may become decision makers and they may carry arms. " This endeavour is all the more important in view of the growing involvement of minors, some of them very young, in today's armed conflicts – not only as victims, but also as combatants.

The Palestinian Ministry of Education was first approached in 2001 and its representatives have now attended two EHL workshops, one in Geneva and the other in Morocco. The Ministry will hold workshops for training trainers and launch the pilot project in various schools. As for the ICRC, it will take part in the initial training and provide the training modules and financial support. Finally, with its expertise in teaching international humanitarian law, the Palestine Red Crescent Society will help organize workshops and refresher courses for trainers and teachers and advise the Ministry on technical matters.

 Further information:  

 Uriel Masad, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel.: ++ 972 64 681 455  

 Ronald Ofteringer, ICRC Jerusalem, tel.: ++ 972 52 784 041  

 Iyad Nasr, ICRC Gaza, tel.: ++ 972 59 771 948