The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer has reiterated the need for the promotion of and more respect for International Humanitarian Law, alias Law of War, in situations of armed conflict and its dissemination to troop-contributing countries and peace support operations in Africa.
The African Union (AU) has dedicated the theme of the year 2020 “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”
“Ratification and implementation of arms treaties by AU member states is key to silencing the guns on the continent. So is the imperative to address root causes of conflict,” said the ICRC president in a statement on Tuesday, adding that “the ICRC considers that respect of international humanitarian law (IHL) is an integral part of the “Silencing the guns” agenda.
In the culmination of his latest visit to the Horn of African countries including, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Maurer has briefed the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the humanitarian situation in Africa.
The ICRC cooperates with the AU on various humanitarian issues aimed to protect civilians during violence, such as children in armed conflict, women in war, internal displacement, conditions of detained migrants, and the missing migrants and the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
Briefing the AU Peace and Security Council, the ICRC president dwelt up on the current global humanitarian and multilateral dynamics, the double impact of climate change and armed conflict on communities, forced displacement, migration.
The climate change and conflict dynamics, particularly observed in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region was also highlighted by the ICRC President, who noticed the situation during his latest visits to the Horn of Africa.
The ICRC president told Xinhua that his briefing to the AU Peace and Security Council focused on the cooperation between ICRC and the pan-African bloc in the legal frameworks on some critical issues, the ratification and implementation of the Kampala Convention, which he said is a unique international instrument on the African continent dealing with displacement.
“I have been speaking also about of course international humanitarian law, use of force, challenges in displacement and how to cooperate to get; one of the big theme of AU is silencing the guns theme, and this is at the same time, our issues which are too concern to the ICRC,” he said.
The ICRC has worked extensively to promote the Kampala Convention, which is the AU Convention on Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaces Persons in Africa.
“The ICRC has a long-standing cooperation with the AU, and the Peace and Security Council is one of the organs of the AU I address regularly. Because we strongly believe in complementarily of political as well as humanitarian solution,” he said.
The ICRC has made the briefing in light of its humanitarian activities within the continent aimed to alleviate the suffering of people affected by conflict in Africa and its engagement with the Union on continental policy development, through its dedicated diplomatic mission to the AU.
Calling for attention to the number of protracted conflicts and the fact that many displaced people remain in refugee camps for decades, Maurer underlined the need to give serious consideration to the humanitarian-development nexus, focusing on building infrastructure and providing services such as education and health.
As a flagship project of Agenda 2063, a blueprint for prosperous and peaceful Africa by 2063, “Silencing the guns by 2020” was adopted by the AU heads of state during the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU in 2013. Enditem