International Humanitarian Law Celebration

In commemoration of the signing of the 1949 Geneva Convention and the Philippines’ commitment as a contracting party to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, this date has been declared as the “International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Day”. The IHL, also known as the Law of War or the Law of Armed Conflict is a set of rules which seek to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.

With the theme, “Highlighting the Role of the Government and Other Stakeholders in Implementing the IHL”, this year’s celebration of the IHL Day emphasizes the importance of the partnership between government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in observing and promoting IHL.

The month-long celebration kicks off with a simultaneous reading of the IHL Manifesto during the Flag Raising ceremonies in all major camps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). At the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the Secretary of National Defense Hon. Voltaire T. Gazmin himself delivered his message highlighting the need for AFP troops to be cognizant of the IHL. The AFP will also launch a Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold a seminar on “Republic Act (RA) 9851: An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts, and For Other Related Purposes” on 12 August 2010 to help prosecutors become familiar with the provisions of this landmark legislation. Likewise, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will hold a series of seminar workshops on the said law with the aim of popularizing the legislation to various stakeholders. The International Court of the Red Cross (ICRC) will also hold a student’s symposium and a media workshop on reporting about conflict on 10-12 August 2010 in Davao City. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will include in its Cadetship Program for Foreign Service Officers a module on IHL. The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) will hold a forum on the “Challenges and Prospects of Promoting National Security through the Implementation of IHL”. The forum will be held on 24 August 2010 at the NDCP.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) together with the AFP will be sponsoring bloodletting activities, walks and runs for humanity, and poster-making contests across the archipelago. The AFP will field 1,200 runners in the “Run for Humanity” scheduled on 15 August 2010 along Pres. Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City while personnel of the DFA have been encouraged by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Hon. Alberto G. Romulo to take part in the run.

The public is also invited to view the photo exhibit by the AFP in SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall and SM North Edsa.