Geneva Call met with members of the opposition delegation participating in the Geneva II Conference on Syria. Geneva Call discussed with the delegation the possibility of making a position statement on key humanitarian issues calling on all parties involved in the Syrian conflict to take necessary civilian protection measures, including:
1. Allowing and facilitating the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid
2. Protecting civilians and civilian property
3. Prohibiting the recruitment of children under 18 and their use in hostilities
4. Refraining from the use of prohibited weapons, and ensuring that weapons are not used indiscriminately
5. Respecting the rights of prisoners and the prohibition of torture.
The delegation expressed interest in such a statement. Geneva Call will follow up this initiative, and continues working with all stakeholders to contribute to enhancing the respect of international humanitarian norms in Syria.
For the last two years, Geneva Call has been engaging Syrian armed non-State actors on humanitarian issues, and provided training on international humanitarian norms. Recently, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) – a Syrian Kurdish armed group – expressed its readiness to sign Geneva Call’s Deeds of Commitment.
A number of formal measures have already been taken by the YPG, notably a military order on 14 December 2013 prohibiting the recruitment of children under 18 years old. The YPG reportedly released 17 children that had been associated with its armed forces after making this declaration.
You can read this military order here: http://bit.ly/1pCe53B