The Fifth Universal Meeting of National Committees and Similar Entities on International Humanitarian Law (Universal Meeting), hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), took place online between 29 November and 2 December 2021, under the banner "Bringing IHL home through domestic law and policy".
The aim of this event was to bring together representatives of national committees and similar entities on international humanitarian law (national IHL committees) to discuss national implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL) relating to selected themes, as detailed in the agenda (see Annex 1).
The Universal Meeting was joined by up to 230 participants each day from across the world. Participants were members of the 118 national IHL committees and included representatives from ministries of foreign affairs, defence and justice and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Participants also included representatives from 12 governments, who joined as observers based on their interest in establishing a national IHL committee, and from five international and regional organizations involved in the domestic implementation of IHL.1 In that sense, the Universal Meeting was one of the rare occasions on which the true universality of IHL could be demonstrated, with representatives from various bodies and departments across the globe coming together to discuss its implementation.
To facilitate these interactions, simultaneous interpretation was provided in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian.
The present report includes many examples of current practice by national IHL committees and more general examples from states of their domestic implementation of IHL. These examples are drawn from contributions made by participants during the sessions of the Universal Meeting itself and from written submissions provided to the ICRC's Advisory Service by participants during or after the Universal Meeting. The contributions can be found throughout this report in the sections entitled "Selected practice", listed in alphabetical order of the state concerned.