August is International Humanitarian Law Month
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), along with the, Department of National Defense, Department of Foreign Affairs, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Commission on Human Rights, and the Department of Interior and Local Government will spearhead the commemoration of IHL Month with a series of activities aimed at heightening public awareness and respect for IHL.
The IHL or Geneva Law is a set of rules which place restrictions on the use of weapons and methods of warfare. It protects people who are not, or no longer, participating in hostilities such as the wounded combatants, shipwrecked members at sea, prisoners of war and civilians.
The ICRC and PRC are hoping that the Red Cross Emblem Bill will finally be approved into Law this month to highlight IHL Month. The Red Cross Emblem is a symbol of protection and stands for impartiality and neutrality. It is well respected by both parties in conflict.
All activities for this year’s IHL Month are anchored on the theme, “Itaguyod ang IHL: Sibilyan Pangalagaan,” which aims to promote the basic principles of IHL.
In commemoration of IHL, a photo exhibit on Humanity in War will be held in Malacanang, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Justice, House of Representatives and at the Philippine National Police.
PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon a staunch advocate of IHL and the author of our local IHL which is Republic Act 9851, said the commemoration of the international humanitarian rules also honors Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross Movement and main initiator of the Geneva Conventions.
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang said Red Cross chapters will hold various activities for the event.
Local Red Cross chapters in Catanduanes, Zamboanga City and Davao City have organized a Run and Walk for Humanity while PRC Laguna Chapter will hold a Ride for Red: Bike for Humanity.
Red Cross chapters in Quezon City and Abra will conduct a youth camp while PRC Bulacan, Camarines Norte, Mountain Province, Capiz and Sultan Kudarat will hold a series of dissemination sessions in universities, government agencies and various organizations.
PRC Ifugao, Laoag City and Compostela, on the other hand will have essay writing contest, music video and poster making competition depicting concepts on IHL.
PRC and all coordinating agencies will simultaneously devote their flag ceremony next Monday, August 13 to IHL commemoration with special guest speakers on IHL.