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Dhaka Tribune

ICRC chief: Pioneer Bangladesh can play role as IHL spokesperson

  • 'Bangladesh is close to integrating the Geneva Conventions into domestic law'
  • 'I think no one else in the South Asia region has done that'
Update : 30 May 2024, 12:42 AM

Agnes Dhur, Head of Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Dhaka, has described Bangladesh as a "pioneer" in South Asia in integrating the Geneva Conventions into domestic law, and said the country can play a role as the "spokesperson" of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

She was briefing a group of reporters marking the 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which are known as the bedrock of modern IHL, on Wednesday. 

“Bangladesh is close to integrating the Geneva Conventions into domestic law. In the South Asian region, it’s a pioneer. I think no one else in the South Asia region has done that,” she said.

So, it can set an example. Fortunately, there is no conflict here in Bangladesh, but the authorities can still play a role in incentivizing all the other countries in the region, she said.

“They can play a role as a spokesperson, as a conveyor of these kinds of messages, without being perceived as supporting one side of the other.”

The ICRC chief said the premise of these conventions is simple: even in armed conflict, at the worst of times, the core of our common humanity must be preserved.

This agreement must be reflected in every interpretation of the Conventions.

For the past 75 years, the IHL has remained fundamental to protecting people affected by armed conflict. The principles enshrined in the Geneva Conventions are as relevant as ever today in a world plagued by violence and polarized public opinion.

By ratifying key treaties and establishing a National IHL Committee, Bangladesh has demonstrated its commitment to adopting the Geneva Conventions and upholding humanitarian principles, she said.

It has taken significant steps towards integrating the IHL into national legislation by drafting two domestic laws on the Geneva Conventions and the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention.

She also hoped that Bangladesh authorities would continue their efforts to consolidate these achievements for the full integration of IHL into national legislation.

In Bangladesh, the ICRC will be undertaking several outreach events and initiatives to observe this historic milestone, namely, an online quiz competition and a media competition on relevance.

“I will be engaging high level authorities, academics, as well as the general audience to highlight Bangladesh's efforts in promoting and implementing IHL.”

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