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Tunisia / League of Arab States - Regional seminar on the dissemination of humanitarian law among the armed forces Arab countries

25-04-2002 News Release 17

From 22 to 25 April, the ICRC, with support from the Tunisian Ministry of National Defense, held a regional seminar in Tunis – the first in the region on such a scale – on the dissemination of international humanitarian law among the armed forces.

The seminar, which had been organized for the senior instructors and heads of legal services of the armies of the member countries of the League of Arab States, was attended by some 40 high-ranking officers from 16 countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen) and from the Palestinian Authority.

During the seminar, which focused on the teaching of international humanitarian law and on practical exercises in this area, the following topics were dealt with: Islam and humanitarian law, national implementation of humanitarian law, the incorporation of legal rules into collective and individual behaviour at all levels of the armed forces and the current challenges which humanitarian law can help meet.

In his opening address, Chokri Ayachi, Secretary of State to the Minister of National Defense, said that Tunisia was honoured to host this regional meeting. He stressed his country's attachment to “universal humanitarian values, as shown by Tunisia's ratification of international humanitarian law and human rights law treaties " . He also drew attention to the mine-clearance activities which Tunisia had carried out in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty.

Jean Abt, a member of the Committee who was representing the ICRC President, gave an address in which he emphasized the importance of this kind of seminar in promoting ICRC programmes in support of national activities to disseminate international humanitarian law. He also stressed the excellent cooperation between the ICRC and the Arab countries.