IRRC No. 147

The Origins and Effectiveness of the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims

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It gives us pleasure to publish extracts from a remarkable unpublished work by an Australian author, Ian Harding. In four chapters (Antiquity, Islam, Some European Developments, Henry Dunant) it covers the origins of the Geneva Conventions from ancient civilizations, and then goes on to explain their significance in international law and action (The Conventions, The Propositions, The Conclusions). The passages we quote below deal with the history of humanitarian ideas and the laborious efforts, repeated time and time again throughout the centuries, for the ever more effective protection of human dignity. (Ed.).

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