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Colombia: Training in humanitarian law for the armed forces

21-11-2002 News Release 02/47

On the initiative of the General Command of the Colombian Armed Forces and with the support of the ICRC delegation in Bogotá and the Colombian Red Cross, a technical seminar was held in the Colombian capital from 12 to 14 November in order to lay the foundations of a permanent plan to incorporate international humanitarian law into the training and operational guidelines of the Colombian armed forces.

The seminar was part of a strategy aimed at ensuring that humanitarian rules are taken into account in decision-making processes and in the planning, conduct, supervision and evaluation of military operations through the gradual inclusion of those rules in military manuals and regulations and in military training programmes and exercises.

The participants included two generals in the Colombian armed forces and various high-ranking officers from the General Inspectorate of the Colombian army, navy and airforce and the Directorates of military education, policy, instruction and training. Members of the country's main military academies also took part.

At the close of the seminar, General Román, Inspector General of the Colombian Armed Forces, said: " Over the past few years, the ICRC has promoted the dissemination of international humanitarian law and helped raise awareness of its rules among the Colombian armed forces in a very effective way. It is now our turn to take the process a step further by including the rules of that law in our instruction manuals and operational guidelines so as to ensure that our decisions never fall short of humanitarian norms. "