As 2020 draws to an end, Geneva Call launches a mass media campaign on key International Humanitarian Law (IHL) concepts targeting communities in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, renewed fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh and frequent violations of the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine have put a heavy toll on civilians and hors de combat. IHL violations have been continuously reported, leading Geneva Call to launch a mass social media campaign to raise awareness about the rules of war among all parties to conflicts in the region.
In the past, Geneva Call’s media campaigns were mainly focused on combatants, framing their messages in ways that can easily be understood and assimilated by fighters. With this campaign, Geneva Call addresses a growing need to target civilians directly and empower them in their efforts to protect themselves from the effects of armed conflict. By designing 18 illustrated messages, Geneva Call wants to inform people of the obligations of all fighting parties towards them, but also to provide guidance on how to adapt their own behaviour in order to enhance their protection based on the obligations of belligerents.
“The 18 messages are not general safety or security message,” says Marie Lequin, Head of Eurasia Region at Geneva Call, “but messages derived from the legal obligations of belligerents. This means that the messages are not civilian duties in the narrow sense of civilians respecting IHL”.
The campaign, targeting different key areas in Ukraine and South Caucasus, will be disseminated in Armenian, Azerbaijani, Russian and Ukrainian languages to reach a variety of different areas where civilian casualties are high.