Kathmandu (ICRC) – The 50th anniversary of Nepal’s accession to the Geneva Conventions was marked in Kathmandu today at an event co-organized by the Government of Nepal, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Nepal Red Cross Society.
The Geneva Conventions are at the core of international humanitarian law, which regulates the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects. They protect people who are not taking part in hostilities, such as civilians, health workers and aid workers, and those who are no longer taking part, such as prisoners of war and people who are wounded or sick.
The event today was presided over by a national committee comprised of representatives from different ministries and tasked with promoting respect for international humanitarian law.
Welcoming the participants, Dilli Raj Ghimire, member-secretary of the committee, said: "The last ten-year's internal armed conflict helped us realize that these Conventions are equally important for international and non-international armed conflict, and that measures must be taken to implement them even during peacetime."
As the chief guest at the event, Hari Prasad Neupane, minister for law, justice, constituent assembly and parliamentary affairs, unveiled a photo book entitled "15 Years of ICRC in Nepal," portraying the ICRC’s activities in the country. "A bill has been drafted to implement the Geneva Conventions," said the minister, who also chairs the national committee promoting international humanitarian law. "The bill will be finalized and submitted to the parliament as quickly as possible."
The event provided an opportunity for the government to present the actions taken to fulfil its responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions, and to discuss next steps.
Representatives from the Nepalese Army, the ICRC and the Nepal Red Cross also provided an overview of their activities to promote international humanitarian law. The programme was widely attended by representatives of the government, the security forces, human rights organizations, UN agencies and academic institutions.