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Philippines: more protection for victims of international armed conflicts

06-03-2012 News Release 12/44

Manila (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomes the ratification by the Philippines of Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions, applicable in international armed conflict.

"The ratification of Additional Protocol I marks another huge milestone for the Philippines, showing the country's commitment to promote and support international humanitarian law," said Jean-Daniel Tauxe, the head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines. "Filipino victims of international armed conflict – whether they be civilians or wounded, sick, shipwrecked or detained military personnel – will now have more protection."

The Senate of the Philippines, after consideration by the committee on foreign relations chaired by Senator Loren Legarda, today passed Additional Protocol I on third and final reading.

The Philippines has signed and ratified more treaties relating to international humanitarian law than any other country in South-East Asia. It acceded to the Geneva Conventions in 1952, signed both Additional Protocol I and Additional Protocol II (applicable in non-international armed conflict) in 1977, and ratified Protocol II in 1986. In 2010, it passed the Republic Act 9851 (or Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes against Humanity), incorporating many of the obligations of international humanitarian law into domestic law.

Additional Protocol I imposes constraints, for humanitarian reasons, on the way in which military operations may be conducted in international armed conflicts. Its ratification will result in greater protection for Filipino military personnel deployed abroad in peace-keeping or other military operations undertaken in connection with an international armed conflict. Armed forces medical units and medical transportation will also be entitled to enhanced protection.
The Philippines' accession to the Additional Protocol I is especially timely as the ICRC marks its 30 years of permanent presence in the country. The ICRC is a humanitarian, neutral and impartial organization that strives to assist and protect victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.
As guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC reminds parties to the conflict of their obligations under this branch of law, and participates in the development of the law. The ICRC has been visiting detainees and assisting people in need, many of them displaced throughout the decades of internal armed conflicts in the Philippines.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 68 84