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The ICRC delegation in Paris

29-10-2010 Overview

The Paris delegation promotes IHL and facilitates ICRC operations through humanitarian diplomacy in the form of dialogue with government, military and diplomatic officials. Its international role makes France an important arena for the promotion of humanitarian work, and the ICRC’s presence in Paris helps it to assist conflict victims worldwide.

The Paris delegation is a key element of the ICRC’s global humanitarian diplomacy network, through which the organization seeks support for its operations worldwide, promotes international humanitarian law (IHL) and its integration into national legislation, furthers understanding of its mandate and stimulates debate on humanitarian issues.

France’s role in international affairs and its traditionally close ties with many African countries leads it to undertake high-profile diplomatic initiatives in situations of humanitarian interest to the ICRC. The French armed forces are engaged in Afghanistan and Chad and take part in UN and European Union peacekeeping and military operations.

The ICRC’s network in France includes the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and justice, the National Assembly and the national commission on human rights, at which the ICRC has observer status. Diplomatic missions and foreign opposition movements based in France are important contacts, as are Paris-based international organizations, NGOs and the foreign media.

The delegation and the defence ministry discuss training in IHL and its integration into training programmes. It briefs officers – who the ICRC might meet in the field – on the ICRC’s mandate and operations.

Academics, journalists, NGOs and the wider public are encouraged to discover humanitarian issues and ICRC activities on a special blog and on Facebook. The delegation has organized public debates on humanitarian issues and is developing an interactive, online IHL course. The ICRC takes part in conferences and debates organized by other organizations, helping to improve common understanding of humanitarian action.

The French Red Cross and the ICRC regularly discuss practical issues regarding operational areas where they both work, including Haiti and Sudan. The two organizations are carrying out a joint project making French Red Cross first-aid expertise available in different contexts.