Addis Ababa — Forty-five members of Ethiopia's federal parliament gathered in Addis Ababa today for a one-day seminar organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the importance and challenges of international humanitarian law.
"Parliamentarians play a pivotal role in adopting national legislation corresponding to international norms," said Ariane Tombet, head of the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia, in her opening remarks at the seminar. "The rules laid down in international humanitarian law are crucial to protecting the lives and dignity of people adversely affected by armed conflict. Meetings and debates such as this one should raise awareness of the importance of these rules, and impel legislators to adopt further measures that will ensure respect for them."
The seminar was also the occasion for constructive discussions on the relevance and applicability of international humanitarian law at national level. The role and the activities of the ICRC such as re-establishing family links, visiting detainees, physical rehabilitation programs, water and sanitation related projects, spreading the knowledge of IHL and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) were also tabled for discussion on the course of the seminar.
In addition to protecting and assisting victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence, the ICRC - as the "guardian" of international humanitarian of law - has a duty to spread knowledge of this body of law.