IRRC No. 244

The Geneva Conventions and Reciprocity

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In 1981, the Twenty-fourth International Red Cross Conference, in Resolution VI, deplored the fact that in several armed conflicts fundamental provisions of the Geneva Conventions were being violated and that those violations impeded the International Committee of the Red Cross in the discharge of its activities. In spite of the Conference's solemn appeal to remedy the situation, there are still signs of reluctance to fully respect those fundamental rules, and even of ill-will towards them. Under the pretext that it requires reciprocity, the application of Convention provisions is at times made conditional on the outcome of bargaining and the prisoners themselves are treated as hostages, even as instruments of blackmail. Such attitudes are inadmissible. The following text discusses the matter in detail. (Editor.)

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