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Protection of the civilian population in armed conflicts

31-12-1986 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 256

25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23 to 31 October 1986, Resolution 8

The Twenty-fifth International Conference of the Red Cross,

 deeply alarmed by the reports on the activities of the ICRC covering the period 1981 to 1986,

 noting that during this period the Movement has had to intervene in more than thirty armed conflicts,

 noting further that most of these conflicts have been of a non-international or mixed character, only covered in part by existing international humanitarian law,

 alarmed by the magnitude of the acts of unnecessary cruelty committed during these conflicts, often against innocent civilians,

 noting that reprisal attacks not limited to military objects have been carried out in several armed conflicts,

 deeply concerned by information that prohibited weapons, including chemical weapons, have been used in some conflicts,

 recalling the many previous resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross for the protection of the civilian population against indiscriminate warfare and against the use of certain weapons,

 1. appeals to all States which have not yet done so to consider becoming Parties to the Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions and to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons of 1980, which both improve the protection of civilian population in armed conflicts,

 2. appeals to all Parties to armed conflicts to require of their armed forces to strictly observe international humanitarian law and rules with regard to the protection of the civilian population,

 3. recommends a universal campaign to make known to all, not only to the armed forces, but to the civilians, the rights of the latter according to international law,

 4. requests the ICRC to intensify its efforts to improve and secure the protection of non-combatants in non-international or mixed armed conflicts,

 5. encourages an expanded use of protective zones in all armed confli cts,

 6. recommends also that measures be taken to facilitate the use of modern telecommunication and rapid response systems as a means of protecting groups at risk.