From norms to action 13 March 2019 18:30

Changing World, Unchanged Protection? 70 Years of the Geneva Conventions

On 13 March 2019, the ICRC launched the Geneva Conventions 70th Anniversary (GC70) programme. At this opening event, ICRC President Peter Maurer addressed the successes and challenges to respecting international humanitarian law in a public discussion held at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

Speakers & panellists

Philippe Burrin
Introductory remarks

Philippe Burrin

Director, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Annyssa Bellal

Annyssa Bellal

Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser in International Humanitarian Law, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Peter Maurer

Peter Maurer

President, International Committee of the Red Cross

About the event


Seventy years on, the Geneva Conventions are much more than a legacy, or simply something to be proud of and commemorate. A lot has been achieved since 1949...But much more needs to be done...

Read the full version of President's address at the Graduate Institute, below.

View the address


The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 have existed to protect people for seven decades. From ensuring that a wounded person is allowed through a checkpoint, to allowing detainees to send messages to their families, they preserve the core of common humanity in the midst of conflict. During such instances, it is clear that respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) is possible, and that its implementation makes a meaningful difference.

At the same time, violations of IHL persist, causing devastating and unacceptable humanitarian consequences. Constant efforts are needed to ensure that IHL guarantees the protection of victims in today’s complex armed conflicts and remains relevant in a changing world.

This event launched the GC70 programme, marking 70 years of the Geneva Conventions, with a discussion that reflected on the successes and challenges to respecting IHL. 

This event was jointly organised with the Graduate Insitute of International and Development Studies.

Date & Time

13 March 2019 18:30

Venue address

Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la Paix
The Graduate Institute, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Genève