ICRC activities on behalf of people affected by war
The ICRC is committed to responding rapidly and efficiently to the humanitarian needs of people affected by armed conflict or by a natural disaster occurring in a conflict area. Hostilities can explode without warning; natural disasters can strike unexpectedly and their effects may be multiplied in countries already riven by war. In the face of such unpredictable emergencies, the ICRC attaches great importance to its ability to deploy rapidly in the field.
ICRC detention visits aim to ensure that detainees, whatever the reason for their arrest and detention, are treated with dignity and humanity, in accordance with international norms and standards. ICRC delegates work with authorities to prevent abuse and to improve both the treatment of detainees and their conditions of detention.
According to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, civilians and all persons not taking part in combat may under no circumstances be the object of attack and must be spared and protected. In fact, however, this principle has been undermined, because the civilian population, particularly since the Second World War, has suffered most of the consequences of armed violence.
The ICRC's mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and other situations of violence, and to provide them with assistance. One way in which the ICRC does this is to ensure respect for the rights of people affected. That involves reminding authorities and others of their legal obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Law enforcement officials play a key role in society, serving and protecting the people and upholding the law. That role is valid at all times, including during armed conflicts and other situations of violence. By engaging in dialogue with police and security forces about the law and their operations, the ICRC supports their efforts to incorporate the rules and standards of international law into their procedures.
The practice of paying for military or security services is as old as war itself. Today, rapid growth and change in the for-profit military and security industry poses major challenges for those concerned about enforcement of human rights and humanitarian law.