PRC marks Int’l Humanitarian Law Month amidst the pandemic

Even with the heightened restrictions and upcoming reimposition of enhanced community quarantine amid the rising number of Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) joins the country in celebrating August as International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Month with the theme “Upholding the Law of Armed Conflict Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic: Protecting humanity for healing and recovery.”

“The PRC is an advocate of preserving humanity, even during war. Civilians and groups afforded protection by the Geneva Conventions and the treaties should at all times be protected. Any war, not even this global pandemic where we are at war with an invisible enemy, is not an excuse for any violation,” PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon said in a media release.

Executive Order (EO) 134, signed by then-President Joseph Estrada, mandates that the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defense co-chair an ad-hoc committee to formulate and implement the annual celebration of IHL month, in collaboration with the PRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other concerned non-government organizations and people’s organizations in the country.

The EO also officially declares August 12, 1999, and every 12th day of August thereafter as IHL Day to raise people’s consciousness and promote greater awareness of the principles of IHL.

Gordon also authored the local law for IHL, Republic Act 9851 or An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide And Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts, and For Related Purposes.

The PRC has a lineup of activities aiming to further promote IHL and the services of the Red Cross in connection with the commemoration of IHL Month.