Iraq: Geneva Call starts a new programme to engage with armed groups on humanitarian norms
20 October 2015
Geneva Call is launching a new programme engaging with the main armed groups operating in Iraq on the respect for humanitarian norms.
War crimes and violations of humanitarian norms are widespread, and the civilian population is paying the highest toll, with an estimated 35,408 civilian casualties in 2014, according to the United Nations.
As a first step, Geneva Call’s media campaign—entitled Fighter not Killer—promoting the rules of war will be broadly disseminated in conflict-affected areas of Iraq.
The organization already engages with all the Kurdish armed groups operating in the country on the respect for humanitarian norms, and it will reinforce this work. Geneva Call’s next step is to prioritize the Shia armed groups that it will engage with. As a further step, it will evaluate and define its approach for engaging with Sunni armed groups.
The lightening rise of “Islamic State” (IS) in 2014, and the Iraqi Army’s difficulty in withstanding their offensive, led to the proliferation of armed groups, including Shia armed groups supporting government forces, and Kurdish armed groups supporting the Iraqi Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga.
These forces are bolstered in their fight against IS by an international coalition of several countries. Certain Sunni armed groups continue to fight against the Iraqi government.
This programme has been developed with the support of the European Union in partnership with the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action.