Protecting Civilians in Mindanao through Islamic Principles and International Humanitarian Law
17 December 2019
A new video depicts the work of Geneva Call in the Philippines, which strives towards better protection of civilians in armed conflict through strengthening respect for humanitarian norms by conflict parties in Central Mindanao. These humanitarian norms are meant to reduce the harmful effects of armed conflict for those not taking part in hostilities.
In the context of the Philippines, and in Muslim Mindanao particularly, Geneva Call sought to relate international humanitarian norms to religious norms which armed groups would more likely understand, recognize, and respect. Hence, the cooperation with Islamic religious leaders in Central Mindanao to come up with the most relevant Islamic references for the Key rules of behaviour for fighters in armed conflict. As the spiritual leader for Muslims in the region, the Mufti’s assistance was sought to explain the relationship between these norms and Islamic law. Further, GC also sought to work with grassroots champions from civil society in disseminating the message as an effective means for both communities and armed non-State actors to have access to these basic rules. This access to, and awareness of, the norms is a precursor for greater respect for them. Efforts towards generating respect for humanitarian norms helps in preventing violations and improving the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict.