Are we obeying International Humanitarian law?

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“Charity is incumbent on each person every day. It is acting justly between two persons, saying a good wood, every step you take to do the prayer, removing a harmful thing, and showing the way”.          (The Holy Prophet PBUH)

International humanitarian law forms a major part of public international law an comprises the rules which in times of armed conflict seek to protect people who are not or are no longer taking part in the hostilities and to restrict the methods and means of warfare employed. The expressions, international humanitarian law, law of armed conflicts or law of war, may be regarded as equivalents. International organizations, universities and ever states tend to favour international humanitarian law, whereas the other two expressions are more commonly used by the armed forces.

International humanitarian law, the law of armed conflict or law of war are combination of two types of law. First one is the “Law of Geneva” which is designed to safeguard military personnel who are no longer  taking part in the fighting and people not actively involved in hostilities like civilians. Second one is the “Law of Hogue” which establishes the rights and obligations of belligerents in the conduct of military operations and limits the means of harming the enemy.

The both types of international humanitarian law draw their names from the cities where each was initially codified. With the adoption of the additional protocols of 1977 which combine both branches (types) that distinction is now merely have historical perspectives.  International humanitarian law can be classify or rank in various branches like: Refugee law,    Human Rights Law, Law governing the peaceful settlement of conflicts, Maritime law, Environmental Law and law governing diplomatic relations. These were the few well known branches, there are many others as well.

We are discussing the definition, branch and the laws on which international humanitarian law is based but the more important thing is the reason or circumstances behind the establishment of international humanitarian law. History witness that there were rules based on customs that regulated armed conflict, then bilateral treaties drafted in varying degree of detail gradually came into force. The belligerents sometimes ratified them after the fighting was over. There were also regulations which states issued to their troops. The law then applicable in armed conflicts was thus limited in both time and space in that it was valid for only one battle or specific conflict. All these reasons led to the formation of a Humanitarian law.

The purpose of international humanitarian law is to limit the suffering caused by war, protecting and assisting its victims as for possible. It regulates only those aspects of the conflict which are of humanitarian concern.

At the end of 2003, almost all the world’s states to be precise were party to Geneva conventions means were bound to follow the rules of international humanitarian law.

There may raise a question that many of the people from civil society talks about  human rights, so what is this humanitarian law to cope with? Actually both are complementary as to protect lives, Health, and dignity of individuals but Humanitarian law applies in situations of armed conflicts whereas human rights or at least some of them protect the individuals at all times. There may be many other laws to protect humanity among countries internally but the real thing is the implementation element whether they are human rights or Humanitarian law.

If we look into the past the first world war   witnessed the use of methods of warfare which were   not completely new and were deployed on an unprecedented scale. The second world  war (1939-1945) saw civilians and military personnel killed in equal numbers as against a ratio of 1:10 in the first world war.

Presently we see the pathetic condition in Afghanistan, IRAQ, Palestine, Libya , Indian occupied Kashmir  and many other countries but the common thing which can be clearly observed is the Islamic aspect as the violations are  just been practiced in Islamic countries. In some cases the internal elements of a country are the reasons for this violation, most commonly in the countries which are under this new trend of “Democratic Revolution”, But the countries like, IRAQ, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine are facing the prejudice behaviour  by those who rank themselves as the most civilised people.

 

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