Our world. Your move. Events in Australia.
From left to right: Graham Perett, MP, representing the Office of the Prime Minister; Greg Vickery, National Chairman of the Australian Red Cross; Christine Milne, Greens Party; Jean-Luc Metzker, Head of the ICRC’s Pacific Regional Delegation; Robert McClelland; Robert Tickner, CEO of the Australian Red Cross; George Brandis, Shadow Attorney-General and Bruce Scott, MP.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, personalities from all sides of Australian politics met in Canberra on 12 August 2009 in a show of support for the four Conventions and the ICRC’s unique mission.
At the initiative of the Australian Red Cross, the day started with a symbolic event on the lawns in front of Parliament House, as a group of public figures presented a bound copy of the Geneva Conventions to Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
The same day, the Attorney-General tabled a resolution in the federal parliament calling for renewed commitment to the Geneva Conventions on the part of the States. The debate that resumed several ti mes over a number of days, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, underlined the importance that Australian politicians attach to international humanitarian law and to the roles of the ICRC and the Australian Red Cross.
To close the day’s festivities, the Attorney-General, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence announced Australia's ratification of the Third Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions.
Reporting on armed conflict and the protection of the Geneva Conventions were the main themes at an Australian Red Cross event in Darwin, Australia, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Conventions.
The anniversary event also saw the opening of the multimedia exhibition Reporting Wars: Challenges & Responsibilities . The Northern Territory’s Supreme Court hosted some 130 guests, drawn from the Northern Territory government, the armed forces, academia, the media, NGOs and the Red Cross.
Refugee journalist Eric Mwamba from the Democratic Republic of the Congo spoke of the danger and personal cost of being a local journalist in a country at war. He told how the conflict had split his family and how they had recently been reunited in Darwin with the help of the Red Cross.
Mark Bowling of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation recounted his experience of covering the East Timor violence in 1999.
Finally, ICRC legal specialist Kelisiana Thynne explained the continuing relevance of the Conventions, referring to recent research that demonstrated continuing support.
" Opportunities to show this type of exhibition in the Northern Territory are not to be missed, given our diverse community, the strong defence presence and our p roximity to places like Timor,” explained Joan Washington, the Australian Red Cross IHL officer in Darwin. “There’s a growing interest in IHL here, and these events stimulate that interest further. An estimated 1000 people visited the exhibition during the month. That’s good for a small place like Darwin.”
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