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Brazil: New committee on humanitarian law

18-02-2004 News Release 04/19

Brazil is the latest Latin American country to have set up a national committee responsible for the dissemination and implementation of humanitarian law.

The committee was inaugurated on 12 February at Itamaraty Palace, seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital, Brasilia, at a ceremony presided over by the minister himself, Celso Amorim. The event was attended by all the committee members, who represent the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Defence, Health, and Education and Culture, the Presidential Cabinet, the Special Secretariat for Human Rights and the National Congress.

The Brazilian Red Cross and the ICRC, which was one of the motors behind the establishment of the committee, will have permanent observer status. 

In his inaugural speech, the Foreign Minister stated: “We are all very concerned by humanitarian questions. However, it is difficult to disassociate them from political considerations. This is where the ICRC plays an important role, and has done for over a century, as it works to protect people irrespective of their ideology or social group.” He went on to underline the ICRC’s discreet yet persuasive action around the world to guarantee respect for the provisions of humanitarian law, which impose limits on warfare. 

“By setting up this committee, the Brazilian government has shown its determination not just to respect but also to ensure respect for humanitarian law in a context of global responsibility and solidarity,” said the ICRC's regional delegate, Gérard Peytrignet.

In parallel, the ICRC’s travelling exhibition Even Wars Have Limits was opened in the presence of the Foreign Minister. This collection of 30 photos of conflict situations and acts of solidarity from around the world illustrate better th an any words the importance of respect for humanitarian law.

 For further information, please contact:  

 João Paulo Charleaux, ICRC Brasilia, tel. ++ 55 61 248 0250 / 248 1105 / 248 38 40