Focus on humanitarian law

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pretoria -The protection of civilians, including children in armed conflict countries, must remain a priority of the United Nations system, says International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim.

"We also believe that the protection of civilians will be better addressed in partnership with regional mechanisms and that strengthening dialogue and cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations would contribute to tackling common security challenges and ensuring speedy action on the ground," said Ebrahim, adding that better cooperation was needed between countries.

He was addressing the opening of the three-day regional seminar on issues relating to International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

This is the 11th year of the annual seminar, which will bring together 28 representatives from 15 countries across Africa, to tackle the latest developments in international humanitarian law.

Though member states on the African continent have shown steady support for ratifying international instruments pertaining to the IHL, Ebrahim was of the view that more can and should be done.

He said the effective implementation of humanitarian law enhances a rules-based international system, which directly ensures the protection of civilians against breaches of impunity, and ultimately contributes to the creation of a better world for all.

"We therefore need to ensure that all relevant role-players are properly sensitised to and advised about the importance of IHL, not only during times of conflict, but also during times of peace.

"... We should also continue to publicly express our dissatisfaction about serious violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and remain unwavering in our resolve to bring to justice the perpetrators thereof," Ebrahim told the seminar.

The discussions of the seminar will focus on children associated with arms carriers; the prosecution of war crimes; the convention on internally displaced persons in Africa and discuss the implementation of treaties and review progress made in incorporating them in the legislation of the different countries.

Most Read

SA News on Facebook