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Geneva Conventions

  • 16 Oct 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

After the Galwan (India-China) clash in Ladakh in June 2020, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) urged both the Indian and Chinese governments that they observe the Geneva Conventions to which both countries are signatories.

Key Points

  • The Geneva Conventions (1949) and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war.
  • They protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).
    • The first Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
    • The second Geneva Convention protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
    • The third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war.
    • The fourth Geneva Convention affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory.
  • Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions, covers situations of non-international armed conflicts. They include traditional civil wars, internal armed conflicts that spill over into other States or internal conflicts in which a third State or a multinational force intervenes alongside the government.
  • Two Protocols of 1977: Additional to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions were adopted in 1977. They strengthen the protection of victims of international (Protocol I) and non-international (Protocol II) armed conflicts and place limits on the way wars are fought.
  • In 2005, a third Additional Protocol was adopted creating an additional emblem, the Red Crystal, which has the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.
  • The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), an international humanitarian organisation, has the mandate to monitor that signatories follow the rules in situations of conflict.
    • Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war.
    • An independent and neutral organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
    • The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Source: IE

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