UAE: Senior military officers from around the world meet to discuss laws of war

20 October 2018

Dubai (ICRC) – More than 120 senior military officers from over 80 countries will participate in the Senior Workshop on International Rules governing Military Operations (SWIRMO) jointly hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defense, in Abu Dhabi, from 20 to 25 October. It is the first time the SWIRMO will be held in the Middle East, with classes held in Arabic.

The high-level workshop will give participants an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the rules governing military operations and to discuss the integration of relevant legal standards into military doctrine, education, and training.

SWIRMO provides expertise on the international humanitarian law (IHL) and its application in military operations, while also providing information on the ICRC’s mission, its significance, and role in international conflicts to officers ranking from Major to Major General.

"SWIRMO offers a unique platform to share best practices and experiences from the field, allowing the participants to expand their views on the law in an operational environment. These are important conversations during a time of protracted conflict and ongoing crises affecting the Middle East," said Yahia Alibi, head of the ICRC’s regional delegation for the GCC countries. "We are pleased that the UAE is co-hosting this unique event, held for the first time in this part of the world."

Major General Pilot Falah Al Qahtani, Assistant Under-Secretary for Policy and Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Defence said, "The UAE's hosting of SWIRMO reaffirms the State's keenness to implement its international humanitarian obligations and to promote an understanding of and compliance with international rules and standards applied to military operations. The cooperation between the Ministry of Defense and the ICRC in hosting SWIRMO aims to offer an opportunity for further cooperation in the field of international humanitarian law, the exchange of experience and knowledge, as well as for the strengthening of relations."

Through its experienced instructors, who are themselves, senior military officers, SWIRMO equips the participants with the necessary tools to improve compliance with the laws governing military operations and focus on the integration of IHL in the decision-making process in combat and law enforcement operations.

The ICRC is formally entrusted under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols with protecting the victims of armed conflict and with promoting the international humanitarian law. In furtherance of this mandate, SWIRMO is annually hosted by the ICRC and the armed forces of a selected country.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jessica Moussan, ICRC UAE, or +971 50 425 40 91