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Cameroon: speaking of current conflicts

14-11-1996 News Release 96/45

A four-day workshop organized by the ICRC on the teaching of international humanitarian law to the armed forces opened in Yaoundé on 12 November. It brought together senior officers from over 20 mainly French-speaking African countries in charge of instructing their respective troops in the rules of humanitarian law, and experts from the Organization of African Unity and the French military cooperation department.

International humanitarian law, also known as the law of armed conflict, is an expression of resolve on the part of the world's States to establish basic regulations governing the conduct of hostilities, so as to limit the suffering endured by civilian and military victims. It stipulates that individuals not taking part in the fighting - civilians and wounded or captured combatants - must be treated humanely.

At a time when growing passions are causing a surge in wanton violence accompanied by systematic and large-scale violations of humanitarian law, there is a vital need to step up efforts to spread knowledge of the basic humanitarian rules so that they will become more widely respected. This is the only way to put an end to the spiral of violence and hatred and to promote a return to peace and normality.