Forum 2015 Session 2: The Protection of Civilians and the Application of International Humanitarian Law (Joint session with Geneva Call)

Date: 3rd November, 2015
Venue: Rotana

  • Hervé Delphin, Head of EU Humanitarian Aid Programmes in the Middle-East (Chair)
  • Lise Grande, Deputy UN-SRSG & Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq
  • Pascal Bonyard, Director of Policy, Geneva Call
  • Jabar Yawar, Secretary General of the Ministry of Peshmarga, KRG
  • Youssef Al-Kelabi, Security Spokesperson for Hashd Al-Shaabi

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict on humanitarian grounds, protecting individuals who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities, and restricting the means and methods of warfare. The indiscriminate killing of civilians by ISIS and the overall ferocity of the war in Iraq raise concerns in the international community about the extent to which IHL is implemented at all by the parties involved in combat.

We have a moral responsibility to urge states and non-state actors to adopt principles of IHL

Lise Grande

There is need for commitment to the core principles of IHL from all actors: governmental, military and civil society. This is also a way to mitigate against future conflict, by working against human rights’ abuses, preventing reprisal attacks, and promoting post-conflict reconciliation.

We have opened training and awareness-raising courses to hundreds of Peshmerga fighters.”

Jabar Yawar

The war against ISIS is expected to escalate further in the coming months given military plans to liberate Mosul and other parts of Iraq. This has the potential to exacerbate not only conflict impacts on civilians but further increase the already sizable population of internally displaced Iraqis who are also in need of security protection and economic support. With these developments and considerations in mind, panellists will discuss the challenges for Iraqi, Peshmerga, and international coalition forces in applying IHL and practical recommendations for the most optimal and effective way to protect the human rights of all civilians in conflict and liberated areas.

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