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ECOWAS, ICRC begin discussion on implementation of international humanitarian law

Member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday in Abuja began a four-day meeting on the implementation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in the West African region. The 13th yearly review meeting, will engage participants from 15 West African states and members of national IHL committees as well as national parliamentarians to assess the progress made in implementing the IHL instruments ratified by their countries and the challenges they faced along the way.
Head of Delegation in Nigeria for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Karl Anton Mattli, in a statement said the aim is to promote respect for IHL by ensuring both domestication and implementation of IHL treaties, including the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their three Additional Protocols, as well as specific weapons treaties.

According to Mattli, armed violence is affecting many African countries is generating massive humanitarian consequences for entire communities.
He said: “People living in the Lake Chad region and in north-east Nigeria are extremely exposed to the armed conflict as it is estimated that 2.4 million people have been displaced and 7 million people are in need of assistance.’’
ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Fatimata D. Sow said variety of topics would be discussed ranging from internal displacement and the African Union Convention on the Protection and Assistance for Internally Displaced Persons (the Kampala Convention) to the Arms Trade Treaty and the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
The ICRC and ECOWAS have been working together in West Africa since 2001 to ensure respect for IHL, including through domestication and implementation of IHL treaties.

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