Oct 31

Emirates Diplomatic Academy Joins Global Commemoration of Geneva Conventions’ 70th Anniversary

Oct 31, 2019

GC70 infographic (EN) r

Joining the global community in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) hosted a high-level panel discussion on ‘Relevance of the Geneva Conventions in the World of Today’. Held in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the event brought together major stakeholders to exchange views on the importance of the Geneva Conventions in today’s geopolitical landscape.

Panellists included His Excellency Dr Mohamed Al Kamali, Director General of the Institute of Legal and Judicial Studies in Sharjah and Vice President of the National Committee of International Humanitarian Law; His Excellency Massimo Baggi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain; His Excellency Bernardino León, Director General of EDA; and Dr Omar Mekky, Regional Legal Coordinator for Middle East and North Africa at ICRC. Sophie Barbey, Head of ICRC Mission in the UAE, moderated the event.

Experts stressed the importance of reinforcing the universal commitments to promoting and adhering to the rules of the four Geneva Conventions and, more broadly, the principles of international humanitarian law (IHL). The discussion shed light on the role of IHL as one of the most powerful tools in ensuring the safety and dignity of people in times of war, as well as the need to introduce its principles to a wide ranges of actors, including students of diplomacy.

The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties and three additional protocols that form the core of international humanitarian law. They regulate the conduct of armed conflict and seek to limit its effects while protecting the people who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities.

His Excellency Massimo Baggi said: “Switzerland is not only a party to the Geneva Conventions, but also the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols, and our commitment to humanitarian action is an integral part of our foreign policy.”

For his part, His Excellency Bernardino León said: “The commitment to humanitarian diplomacy is not a choice but a responsibility. The UAE views this responsibility as a high priority, and this approach is evident in its proactive provision of relief and development assistance around the world.”

He added: “EDA aims to nurture future diplomats that lead with compassion and realise the importance of humanitarian work. They are our future guardians of peace and promoters of global prosperity. The in-depth discussion has allowed our students to gain a thorough understanding of the significance of the Geneva Conventions in light of contemporary geopolitical challenges. I thank the global dignitaries for their insights.”

Sophie Barbey said: “70 years later, the Geneva Conventions remain as relevant and life-saving as they were intended to be with the ultimate goal to protect and assist the affected population. In 1949, in the aftermath of World War II, the Conventions were universally agreed upon by States because they reflect universal values of ethical behaviour of armed forces during conflict. People and their needs are at the centre of the Geneva Conventions, which are meant to protect people’s safety, dignity and well-being during armed conflict.”

She added: “The fundamental obligation that people must be treated with humanity, including in armed conflict, is therefore enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.”

The event drew the participation of diplomats and representatives of the Emirates Red Crescent and organisations from the humanitarian field, alongside EDA students, faculty and staff.

EDA is a distinguished educational institution that serves as the driving force in the UAE’s efforts to qualify Emirati talent for diplomatic careers and positions of leadership in support of the nation’s foreign policy objectives. The Academy brings international expertise and experience to the UAE to prepare its graduates to represent their country abroad at the highest levels.