RICR No. 841

Teaching international humanitarian law in academic institutions in South Asia: An overview of an ICRC dissemination programme

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The 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols require States Parties to disseminate the content of these humanitarian treaties as widely as possible in their respective countries. Of course, their inclusion in military instruction is indispensable to ensure their implementation in time of armed conflict. But it is equally important to promote knowledge of humanitarian law among those whom it is intended to protect — the civilian population — as well as among those who have to apply it — public officials of various ministries. At the same time, political leaders and decision-makers must also be familiar with that law, so that they are aware of its relevance, realism and mode of operation if and when a conflict should break out. Therefore, to ensure respect for it — and also to promote its development — it is an essential task to include international humanitarian law in higher education. The ICRC has taken a number of steps to achieve just that in the South Asian region.

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