During his first visit to Australia, ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord, together with staff from the ICRC's Sydney office, took part in a special launch of two issues of the International Review of the Red Cross devoted to Afghanistan. Mr Daccord joined a panel discussion, attended by prominent academics, government officials, diplomats, and students of international relations, on the challenges ahead in Afghanistan.
The launch took place on 12 December in Canberra, Australia, and was part of the Review's endeavour to stimulate reflection on contemporary problems relating to international humanitarian law and humanitarian action.
The panel discussion, which focused on the evolving political, security and humanitarian environment in Afghanistan, was organized by the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University (ANU) and by the Australian Red Cross. It took place in ANU's Hedley Bull Centre and drew 60 participants from government, policy and academia circles. Several articles from the Review served to steer the discussion.
Present on the panel were Professor William Maley, Foundation Director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and author of a key article on the history of Afghanistan published in the Review, and Dr Helen Durham, Head of International Law and Principles at the Australian Red Cross. The discussion was moderated by Mr Ric Casagrande, Chair of the Australian Red Cross ACT Advisory Committee on International Humanitarian Law. Australia has an active legal community that is regularly involved in promoting this law.
According to Mr Geoff Skillen, Chair of the Australian Red Cross National Advisory Committee on International Humanitarian Law, "The conflict in Afghanistan raises complex issues for governments and humanitarian agencies alike. These issues are not always well understood, but the Review has produced a series of articles that help to clarify them, by drawing on the knowledge and perspective of a wide range of experts.
For further information, please contact Pauline Wall, Communications Officer, ICRC Sydney office (Tel + 612 9388 9039; Mobile + 61 418 485 120; Fax + 612 9388 9042)