International humanitarian law: From law to action Report on the follow-up to the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims

The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent,

 noting with great concern the increasing number of armed conflicts taking place in various parts of the world,

 alarmed by the gross and persistent violations of international humanitarian law that are being committed,

particularly against civilians, including the most vulnerable,

 deeply concerned about the grief and suffering resulting from such violations,

 deploring the decrease in respect for international humanitarian law,

 noting that States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and States party to the 1977 Additional Protocols have the obligation not only to respect but also to ensure respect for those Conventions and Protocols, and that all States must respect relevant customary international humanitarian law,

 recalling that, in cases not covered by international agreements, the human person remains under the protection of the principles of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience,

 convinced that all appropriate measures must be taken in order that all should know and understand the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law,

 recalling that the Swiss Government convened in Geneva an International Conference for the Protection of War Victims, from 30 August to 1 September 1993, and an Intergovernmental Group of Experts for the Protection of War Victims, from 23 to 27 January 1995,

 having taken note of the report of the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts for the Protection of War Victims,

 noting the document drawn up by the Swiss authorities on meetings of the States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions to consider general problems regarding the application of international humanitarian law (Document95/C.I/2/3),

 stressing the importance of holding the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent at regular intervals to help improve the protection of war victims,

1.  strongly condemns the violations of international humanitarian law taking place in various parts of the world;

2.  solemnly reaffirms that every State must respect in all circumstances the relevant principles and norms of humanitarian law and that States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and States party to the 1977 Additional Protocols must ensure respect for the Conventions and Protocols;

3.  endorses the Final Declaration of the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims , adopted on 1 September 1993, which confirms the need to reinforce implementation of and respect for international humanitarian law and which is attached to the present resolution;

4.  also endorses the Recommendations drawn up by the Intergovernmental Group of Experts   (Recommendations) , which aim at translating the Final Declaration of the Conference into concrete and effective measures and which are attached to the present Resolution;

5.  strongly urges States to implement the Recommendations addressed to them, especially by adopting appropriate measures at the national and international level and supporting international organizations working in this field, and invites them to consider further steps towards the effective protection of war victims;

6.  encourages States and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (National Societies) to organize meetings, workshops and other activities on a regional basis to enhance the understanding and implementation of international humanitarian law;

7.  recommends that the outcome of meetings convened by the Depositary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including those mentioned in Recommendation VII of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts, be transmitted to the next Inte rnational Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent as well as to States party to those Conventions;

8.  urges the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) and the National Societies to carry out the tasks entrusted to them by the Recommendations and calls upon States to give them adequate support in this regard;

9. invites States to respond generously to the annual Appeal made jointly by the ICRC and the International Federation in pursuance of Recommendation VIII of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts for the financing of concrete dissemination projects proposed by National Societies, to support financially the dissemination component of regular relief and development programmes of the ICRC and of the International Federation, and to support domestic dissemination programmes of the National Societies of their respective countries

10. invites the ICRC, in cooperation with the International Federation, to report to the 27th International Conference on the implementation of the present resolution.