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Sri Lanka: experts gather for regional meeting on international humanitarian law

23-11-2012 News Release 12/228

Sri Lanka will host the 21st South Asia Teaching Session (SATS) on international humanitarian law (IHL) this year.

The event, organized by the ICRC's Sri Lanka delegation with the support of the Sri Lankan ministry of external affairs, will take place from 29 November to 6 December in Katunayake, close to the capital Colombo.   

This year's event will bring together government delegations from South Asia and beyond.  Experts and academics in IHL from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will deliver lectures on topics such as IHL v. terrorism, direct participation in hostilities and the protection of women in armed conflict.

"This will be the first time that SATS is taking place in Sri Lanka," said Yves Giovannoni, the head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka. "The aim is to enhance knowledge of IHL among civil and military officials working in the fields of international law, international relations and defence studies. At the same time, it is an opportunity for people from South Asian and neighbouring countries to discuss contemporary challenges to humanitarian law."

Sri Lanka will be represented by nineteen participants fro the ministries of external affairs, health and justice,  the armed forces, the legal draftsman’s department, the attorney general's department and Kothalawala Defence University.

Over its ten-year history, the regional forum has developed into a prestigious and internationally recognized tradition, enriched by the participation of countries from outside South Asia. Previously, the ICRC has run the SATS in cooperation with diplomatic institutes, universities and national law schools in India, Iran and Nepal.

The ICRC’s Sri Lanka delegation has timed the launch of the Sinhala and Tamil translations of the main customary rules of international humanitarian law to coincide with this year’s SATS. The launch will take place on 5 December 2012 during a gathering in Colombo of Sri Lankan SATS alumni, government officials and participants in the 21st SATS.

For further information, please contact:
Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 773 1588 44
Ruwanthika Gunaratne, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46