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Nigeria: International humanitarian law discussed at National Defence College

28-01-2008 News Release 08/15

Abuja (ICRC) – On 23 January the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took part in annual Red Cross Day celebrations at Nigeria’s National Defence College.

A tradition of ICRC participation in the event began over 15 years ago when the college – one of the most prestigious military institutions in West Africa – set aside one day for the ICRC to present topics of interest relating to military operations and international humanitarian law. This year’s event was attended by 102 senior army, navy and air force officers from Nigeria and other countries.

The acting commandant of the college, Maj. Gen. J.O.S. Ashanupin, challenged the officers to take a cue from the ICRC and do their part to promote international humanitarian law. Specifically, he suggested that “humanitarian law could be incorporated into tactical and operational training.”

The ICRC’s head of operations for Western Africa, Boris Michel, highlighted the challenges faced by peace-keepers as wars become more unconventional, and the importance of maintaining a clear distinction between humanitarian and military activities so as not to blur roles and undermine objectives.

In Nigeria, the ICRC focuses on spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law. In cooperation with the Nigerian Red Cross Society it also provides protection and assistance for people adversely affected by violence and natural disasters. The ICRC was active in Nigeria during the country’s civil war (1966–1970). In 1988, a headquarters agreement was signed with Nigeria to establish the legal status of the ICRC delegation.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Anahita Kar, ICRC Abuja, tel: +234 9 4619 613 or +234 703 595 4168