What is international humanitarian law?
International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the laws of war, is the body of laws that aim to limit suffering in times of armed conflict - both international and non-international armed conflict. IHL imposes obligations on parties to armed conflict in order to protect those who are not, or who are no longer participating in hostilities and to limit the means and methods of warfare.
Australian Red Cross and IHL Best Practice
As an organisation that regularly deploys staff to conflict zones, and which has a mandate to promote awareness of IHL, Red Cross is taking action to embed IHL into our policies, procedures and practice . We believe that if our people understand IHL, this will lead to:
- Capacity: Enhanced capacity to leverage and promote IHL, so as to achieve better humanitarian outcomes and to contribute to global discussions on IHL compliance;
- Protection: Better protection of our people when they are in conflict zones, as well as local communities in these areas;
- Risk mitigation: Increased ability to identify and mitigate operational, reputation and liability risks associated with operating in conflict zones or arising from third party partnerships.
IHL Best Practice at Australian Red Cross
Australian Red Cross has adopted and is implementing a set of IHL commitments, which we have called our “IHL Action Plan.” Our commitments are framed by seven Principles for IHL Best Practice. The first Principle is to publicly share our commitment to respect and promote respect for IHL. We do so in the following statement.