The Geneva Conventions
The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 are international treaties forming the basis of modern international humanitarian law and have been ratified by almost every State in the world.
Each convention concerns a particular group of people:
1. Wounded and sick soldiers
2. Wounded, sick and shipwrecked sailors
3. Treatment of prisoners of war
4. Protection of civilians during war
The conventions are supplemented by three Additional Protocols.
1. Protection of victims of international armed conflicts (1977)
2. Protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts (1977)
3. Adoption of red crystal emblem (2005)
Other International Humanitarian Law Treaties
In addition to the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols there are other international treaties aimed at limiting the effects of armed conflict. These include:
• The Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in armed conflict (1954 & additional protocol 1999)
• Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be excessively injurious or have indiscriminate effects (CCW) (1980 & five protocols)
• Convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction (1993)
• Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (1998)
• Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008)
• The Arms Trade Treaty (2013)
For a comprehensive database of international treaties relating to IHL click here.
IHL Dissemination Activities
The Geneva Conventions require national Red Cross societies to promote awareness of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to target audiences and the general public.
The Irish Red Cross provides training and education to organisations and individuals as well as holding frequent public IHL events. We also run workshops and presentations for community groups.
Annual IHL Conference
The Irish Red Cross holds our annual IHL conference in late autumn. Last year the conference examined the protection of journalists reporting from the frontline with well-known reporters such as Fergal Keane of RTE and Shona Murray of Newstalk.
These monthly public events are an opportunity to discuss and debate issues relating to IHL. A facilitator with special knowledge of the chosen topic opens the evening with a short overview. This is followed by an hour of discussion where all present are encouraged to participate. Chatham House Rule applies. Previous topics include: ‘Can we ever really enforce IHL?’, ‘Children in War’ and ‘The denial of humanitarian assistance through the lens of IHL’.
To find out more about an upcoming roundtable or any of the above please contact IHL Dissemination Officer on 01 642 4600.