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LNRCS, ICRC Seek Collaboration To Uphold the Geneva Convention

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Monrovia – The Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) has stressed the importance of doing more in upholding the principle of humanity, as Liberia joins the world to commemorate the 70th Geneva Conventions (GCs).

LNRCS President Jerome N. J. Clarke said upholding the convention’s code should mean focusing more on saving lives and responding to people’s needs.

“Saving lives, alleviating suffering and responding to people’s needs remain the driving force behind the Geneva Conventions. Their rules are meant to protect the safety, dignity, and well-being of people affected by armed conflict,” Mr. Clarke said.

Speaking Monday at the program commemorating the 70th anniversary of the GCs with officers of the Arm Forces of Liberia at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia, Clarke urged Liberian Military personnel to ‘reflect deeply’ and collaborate in meeting convention objectives.

He reminded members of the AFL that the protective power of the Conventions remains crucial in protecting the ‘most vulnerable’ from harmful effects of contemporary warfare, urging them to implement and respect its principles.

He further stated that the GCs already recognizes that respect for such law requires more than just having a knowledge of it, but the incorporation of the law into military doctrine, education, and training. 

“This is why the Liberian Red Cross is stepping up to the ICRC in providing training and awareness to the Armed Forces of Liberia on the International Humanitarian Law. Yes, Liberia is not experiencing armed conflict, its army is proudly supporting the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Mali and we must work together with the army to ensure full compliance with the IHL,” Clarke said. 

Mr. Clarke praised the AFL for helping to provide peacekeeping missions in Mali, calling on citizens to work along with the army to ensure full compliance of the International Human Rights Law.

In her remarks, the Deputy Regional Head of Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross Valerie Aubert said the domestication of the GCs and other additional protocols in the national law and the promotion and incorporation of international human Rights Law into the military doctrine, education and training are important for the AFL.

“Seventy years on, the Geneva Conventions are much more than a legacy, or simply something to be proud of and commemorate. A lot has been achieved since 1949. But much more needs to be done”, Aubert said.

Liberia is pushing strongly for the domestication of the Geneva Conventions.

The Liberia IHL Committee has already finalized a bill on the domestication of the GCs and their Additional Protocols pending submission to the plenary of the National Legislature shortly.

The four conventions call for the protection of wounded and sick enemies in the field, wounded and shipwrecked enemy at sea, enemy prisoners or prisoners of war and respect and protection of the civilian population.

At the same time, the Assistant Chief of Staff of the Arm Forces of Liberia, Major Thomas K. Nimely said the four conventions are unique to the AFL in eradicating enormous horrors during external and internal arm conflicts.

He said these conventions were designed to protect people and saved countless lives as well as reduced suffering during arm conflicts.

“Saving lives, alleviating suffering and responding to people’s needs remain the driving force behind these conventions and their rules are meant to protect the safety, dignity and well-being of people affected by arm conflict,” Nimely added.

He stressed that the construction of the GCs Monument on Broad Street, following the ratification of the convention in 1954 was also important and the need to re-inaugurate it cannot be overemphasized.

“20 years ago, the GCs Monument was erected by the ICRC in 1999 and inaugurated during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions by former Liberian Defense Minister Daniel Chea,” Maj. Nimely noted.  

“The monument depicts soldiers and armed carriers or bearer stretching their hands to receive the Geneva Conventions, signifies respect, implementation and promotion of the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols which calls for humane treatment for victims and those caring for them.”

The monument has been refurbished and was inaugurated by Deputy Defense Minister for Administration Tabli Olandrus Dickson during Monday’s event marking the GC70 Commemoration in Liberia.

The Geneva Conventions GC70 aims to call states and other actors to action, urging recommitment to international humanitarian law and enhancing practical efforts to ensure International Human Rights Law.

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