Laos, Partners Promote Int’l Humanitarian Law


Laos will partner with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the international community at large to raise awareness and understanding of the International Humanitarian Law, as part of the State Parties’ obligations.

This was the key statement delivered yesterday by the Director General of the Department of Treaties and Law at the Ministry of ForeignAffairs, Mr Phoukhong Sisoulath, when addressing a seminar on related issues.

In his opening remarks, Mr Phoukhong said he appreciated the efforts of the ICRC to make the International Humanitarian Law known worldwide, and its important role in limiting the impact of wars and armed conflicts that have occurred in many parts of the world.

As Laos has been affected by war and armed conflict in the past, its people are cognisant of the impact of war and the adverse consequences of war remnants in the form of UXO.

“The country now enjoys lasting peace which is the highest aspiration of the Lao people,” Mr Phoukhong said.

The importance of the International Humanitarian Law and the treaties and conventions that form its core were the main points of the seminar organised by the department and the ICRC yesterday.

“The ICRC and the Lao Red Cross have worked together since 1999 to promote and disseminate the International Humanitarian Law in Laos. Many sessions and workshops on the law and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have been held in Vientiane and at the provincial level,” the Head of the ICRC office in Laos, Mr Frank Kuenzi, said.

Mr Kuenzi said the ICRC’s mission includes the promotion and dissemination of the law, adding “The International Humanitarian Law, and the respect of its principles and provisions by all parties to a conflict, are of utmost importance since we witness in many parts of the world an escalation of protracted situations of conflict and a multiplication of actors involved in those conflicts.”

“Ensuring the knowledge and the respect of the provisions of the law is an obligation. It is in times of peace that preparations for a deterioration of the situation, leading potentially to conflicts, should be made,” Mr Kuenzi said.

“This is the fourth event organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we have the opportunity to share knowledge and views on how the law remains relevant even during peacetime,” he added.

Fifty representatives from related line ministries and organisations attended and heard about the main humanitarian-related treaties, in particular the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, as well as Laos’adherence to those treaties.

The seminar was part of the joint effort by the Lao government and the ICRC to raise awareness and understanding of the International Humanitarian Law in Laos.

The seminar was co-chaired by Mr Kuenzi, Mr Phoukhong and the ICRC Regional Legal Adviser, Ms Kelisiana Thynne.


Source: Vientiane Times