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People on war - ICRC consultation on the rules of war

12-12-2007 Report

2007 Country report: Great Britain. 30th anniversary of the Additional Protocols.


    2007 marks the 30th anniversary of Additional Protocols I and II to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The Conventions established the legal safeguards covering the way wars may be fought, in order to ensure better protection of civilians, prisoners and the wounded in war. They have since been ratified by all states, and now enjoy universal acceptance.

The 1977 Additional Protocols supplement the 1949 Conventions by further improving the laws protecting civilians and the wounded, with particular emphasis on the duty to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and ensure that civilians are not targeted. The Protocols were adopted as a response to the changing nature of warfare and weapons technology, and – for the first time – laid down detailed humanitarian rules that apply in civil wars.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Additional Protocols, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in partnership with the British Red Cross, commissioned ICM Research to repeat the 1999 People on War survey in the United Kingdom. The 1999 People on War survey had originally been conducted in 17 countries around the world to examine attitudes to conflict and international humanitarian law, fifty years after the signing of the Geneva Conventions.

Key questions from the 1999 survey are replicated in order to permit detailed insight on continuities and changes in attitudes to conflict in the intervening years among the British general public.

The fieldwork was carried out from 10 - 22 August 2007 and was a nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults aged over 18 years. Interviews were carried out with persons across the country and the results have been weighted to the known profile of all British adults. Interestingly for a survey covering issues related to war, of those surveyed, 13% reported that they had served in the military.

 To request a copy of the report, please contact ICRC London:   or +44 207 877 7581 More on the 1999 "People on War" project