IRRC No. 161

The 25th Anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions

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August 12, 1949 was an important date in world history. It was on that day that the plenipotentiaries of some sixty States signed the fundamental charters of humanity which are known as the four Geneva Conventions, and which protect the victims of armed conflicts: the first, the military wounded and sick; the second, the victims of war at sea; the third, the prisoners of war; and the fourth—which was entirely new—civilians. After the suffering of the population in occupied countries during the Second World War, such a treaty appeared to be vitally necessary and urgent. As Max Huber said, the development towards total war has made danger and hardship equal for armies and population.

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