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Iran: conference on international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians

22-11-2011 News Release

Tehran (ICRC) – The Non-Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other partners, is organizing a conference on the protection of civilians in contemporary armed conflicts. Government experts, academics, lawyers, Islamic scholars, researchers and representatives of humanitarian organizations will attend the event, which will take place on 22 and 23 November in Tehran.

Paul-Henri Arni, a Geneva-based ICRC staff member in charge of a special project on the dangers facing health-care services in armed conflict and situations of violence, will introduce a four-year campaign by the ICRC to raise awareness of these dangers. "The main responsibility for the protection of health-care providers and facilities in armed conflict lies with the States and non-state armed groups," he said. "The health-care community alone cannot resolve this issue."

The implications of cyber warfare will also be raised at the conference. "Cyber warfare refers to the means and methods of warfare that rely on information technology and are used in the context of an armed conflict within the meaning of international humanitarian law," said Cordula Droege, an ICRC legal expert. "The potential impact of some cyber operations, particularly those disrupting vital infrastructure that have a direct effect on civilians' lives, is enormous."

A conference on "cultures in support of humanity," also organized by the Non-Aligned Movement Center and supported by the ICRC and the Permanent Secretariat of Islam and International Humanitarian Law, will be held from 24 to 26 November in Tehran. The ICRC has been supporting the permanent secretariat in Qom since 2006.

For further information, please contact:
John Strick van Linschoten, ICRC Tehran, tel: +98 21 22 64 58 21-4 or +98 912 327 30 99