With the support of Finland, Geneva Call launched a summer school on the law of armed conflict for youth from different political parties in Lebanon.
“This is a unique opportunity, a neutral space for Lebanese youth from various political backgrounds to discuss international standards regulating armed conflict”, said Finland’s Ambassador to Lebanon His Excellency Matti Lassila. “Finland has been supporting the commendable work of the NGO Geneva Call to promote humanitarian norms and the protection of civilians in Lebanon for the past two years.”
The summer school aims to increase political parties’ knowledge and understanding of international humanitarian law (IHL) and the protection of civilians. Young adults from different political backgrounds will develop a common understanding of rights and obligations related to armed conflict and armed violence under domestic and international law.
“By participating in this summer school on IHL, the political parties and organizations affirm the universality of humanitarian norms and values, regardless of their political differences – and this in a difficult time for Lebanon and the region” says Elisabeth Decrey Warner, Geneva Call’s Executive President.
During this week, Geneva Call will train a panel of 17 highly qualified, professional and motivated young adults representing seven Lebanese political parties and movements, including the Amal Movement, Azm wa Saadeh, Free Patriotic Movement, Future Movement, Kataeb, Lebanese Forces, El Marada, Progressive Socialist Party, as well as the Palestine Liberation Organization.
International and local experts including Geneva Call’s Programme Director for Middle East Mehmet Balci, and Geneva Call’s Project Coordinator in Lebanon Hiba Mikhail will deliver training sessions on international humanitarian law (IHL), specifically on topics such as the protection of women and children in situations of armed conflict and armed violence and the protection of internally displaced people and refugees.
“IHL is part of the world cultural heritage; everybody should benefit from it and should be given the opportunity to benefit from it, the youth in particular” said Mehmet Balci from Geneva Call during the opening session.
In Lebanon, Geneva Call has been working on humanitarian norms with Palestinian factions in the refugee camps since 2010 and has been carrying out activities with Lebanese political parties on humanitarian norms applicable to armed violence and armed conflict.
Geneva Call, the organizer of this event, is a neutral and impartial non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting respect by armed non-State actors for international humanitarian norms in armed conflict, in particular for those related to the protection of civilians.
Geneva Call has been conducting similar activities in several countries, such as Syria, Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Burma/Myanmar, Philippines, where armed non -State actors have been operating against States and/or against other armed non-State actors. Geneva Call has also been conducting a media campaign called “Fighter not Killer” to raise awareness not only among armed actors but also among society. More information may be found on www.fighternotkiller.org
Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting conflict prevention and the promotion of International Humanitarian Law in Lebanon.