The ICRC's new Moscow Humanitarium is to provide a forum for discussions and research on humanitarian issues. This centre will serve as a regional platform for discussing international humanitarian law and current humanitarian issues, and for finding solutions.
Following its official opening on 17 March, the Humanitarium offers an opportunity to hold discussions and events in various formats, enabling specialists and researchers to develop a dialogue with their colleagues and with ICRC specialists all over the world. Young researchers and students who specialize in international humanitarian law will have access to a unique library of over 1,500 books on the subject. Discussions and meetings at the Humanitarium will provide journalists with a source of exclusive information.
Pascal Cuttat heads the ICRC's Moscow delegation. "The humanitarian centre that we have created here is a space for learning, the exchange of opinions and interaction," he explained at the opening event. "I truly believe that in this centre we will have many honest, open and possibly even complex discussions about humanitarian challenges in the modern world, about changes in modern conflicts and their impact upon humanitarian activities and development of international humanitarian law."
A similar centre already exists at ICRC headquarters in Geneva. The opening of the Moscow Humanitarium will give a new impetus to discussions on humanitarian issues and help to expand their geographical outreach.
"We opened the Humanitarium in Geneva in 2013, but we believe it is highly important to discuss humanitarian issues in other regions, where decisions are made that have impact upon humanitarian activities," explained Vincent Bernard, editor-in-chief of the International Review of the Red Cross and head of Law and Policy Forum at ICRC headquarters. "We will use the up-to-date technical facilities of this centre to facilitate dialogue on the development of the law of armed conflict and its application."
During the opening ceremony, the Russian version of the 2015 ICRC Report "International Humanitarian Law and Challenges of Modern Armed Conflicts" was officially presented. This report summarizes the ICRC's position on the most pressing issues that international humanitarian law has to deal with in contemporary armed conflicts. These issues include identifying where the application of IHL in armed conflicts starts and ends, the protection of medical personnel and facilities, the regulatory framework for private military and security companies and problems related to new means and methods of warfare. All these and many other topics will be a focus of further discussions at the "Humanitarium."