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Serbia: Young people to start Exploring Humanitarian Law

24-09-2003 News Release 03/114

Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) is an ICRC programme that introduces young people to the basic rules of international humanitarian law and helps them embrace principles of humanity in their daily lives and the way they assess events at home and abroad. A pilot EHL programme is to start in Serbia next month, and throughout the coming school year over 1,000 students at 18 secondary schools in Belgrade will be debating humanitarian perspectives, rules to limit suffering in conflict and violence, responsibility for breaches of the rules, justice at work and the ethics and practice of humanitarian work.

Pupils at the police secondary school in Sremska Kamenica will be exploring the same topics, under the guidance of their law and philosophy teachers.

In July, the Serbian Ministry of Education and Sports granted “A” accreditation to EHL – the highest quality rating. This recognition follows months of consultations between the Ministry, the ICRC and MOST – a leading educational group whose acronym, appropriately enough, is the Serbian word for bridge – over concerns about whether following the programme could indirectly traumatize teenagers who have endured years of conflict.

Following the pilot phase, the Serbian Ministry of Education will review the results of the programme and consider further implementation.

Common experience of conflict is giving EHL a strong regional dimension, as are similarities between the education systems of the countries concerned. Educators from Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia have already exchanged initial experiences, and a teacher training seminar in Serbia next month will help to further boost EHL expertise in these countries.

 Further information:  

 Gordana Milenkovic, ICRC Belgrade, tel. ++381 11 344 15 22  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++4122 730 24 58