IRRC No. 294

Humanitarian standards for internal strife — A brief review of new developments

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In his book “A Memory of Solferino”, Henry Dunant set out two proposals for action on the international level to alleviate the suffering of war victims: the first was to have governments adopt an international treaty to be respected in time of war, and the second was to establish an organizational framework for ensuring compliance with such international obligations. Dunant seemed to realize that only the combination of international, treaty-based obligations and an organization to implement them could induce governments to act in the way he wished. The outcome of his proposals was of course the adoption of the Geneva Convention of 1864 on the one hand, and the founding of the Red Cross Movement on the other.

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