Practice Relating to Rule 144. Ensuring Respect for International Humanitarian Law Erga Omnes

Geneva Conventions (1949)
Common Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions states: “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” 
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 1; Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 1; Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 1; Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 1.
Additional Protocol I
Article 1(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for this Protocol in all circumstances.” 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 1(1). Article 1 was adopted by 87 votes in favour, 1 against and 11 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.36, 23 May 1977, p. 41.
Additional Protocol I
Article 89 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “In situations of serious violations of the Conventions or of this Protocol, the High Contracting Parties undertake to act, jointly or individually, in co-operation with the United Nations and in conformity with the United Nations Charter.” 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 89. Article 89 was adopted by 50 votes in favour, 3 against and 40 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.46, 31 May 1977, p. 348.
Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
Article 31 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property provides:
In situations of serious violations of this Protocol, the Parties undertake to act, jointly through the Committee, or individually, in cooperation with UNESCO and the United Nations and in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations. 
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 14 May 1954, Article 31.
ILC Draft Articles on State Responsibility
Article 16 of the 2001 ILC Draft Articles on State Responsibility, entitled “Aid or assistance in the commission of an internationally wrongful act”, states:
A State which aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act by the latter is internationally responsible for doing so if:
(a) That State does so with knowledge of the circumstances of the internationally wrongful act; and
(b) The act would be internationally wrongful if committed by that State. 
Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, adopted by the International Law Commission, reprinted in Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-third session, 23 April–1 June and 2 July–10 August 2001, UN Doc. A/56/10, 2001, Article 16.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Section 5 - Protecting powers and organizations of the Red Cross
0238. Protecting powers
The parties to a conflict are bound, from the beginning of that conflict, to ensure observation and implementation of the rules of the humanitarian law of war. They must do this through the system of protecting powers. A protecting power is a neutral or other State, not involved in the conflict, which ensures that the rights and interests of a belligerent and, above all, those of the civilians and military of that State are assured and protected.
0240. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
If the parties in a conflict cannot agree to accept the protecting powers appointed by the other party, the ICRC may offer to act as a substitute for a protecting power. The ICRC can function as a protecting power only after the affected parties in the conflict have given their consent. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0238 and 0240.
In its chapter on the prevention and punishment of war crimes, the manual states:
Section 3 - Compliance
1108. Breaches of the humanitarian law of war have occurred in every armed conflict. Yet ICRC data show that, in many cases, the rules of the humanitarian law of war prevent or mitigate suffering. The following factors are important to compliance with the humanitarian law of war:
1115. Diplomatic pressure
Diplomatic pressure can be very important to compliance with the rules of international law, and therefore also with those of the humanitarian law of war. The intervention of other States, international organizations, also church and humanitarian organizations, may have a positive influence on compliance with the rules.
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1117. Protecting powers
A protecting power is a State which is not a party to the conflict. It is appointed by a party to the conflict, and accepted by the other party, to fulfil the tasks set forth in the Geneva Conventions and AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I]. A protecting power is primarily responsible for safeguarding the interests of a party to the conflict.
1119. International Fact-Finding Commission
Since 1990, an International Fact-Finding Commission has been established, consisting of fifteen impartial members. The Commission is authorized to investigate in parties to a conflict that have recognized the Commission, any fact allegedly forming a serious infringement of the humanitarian law of war. The Commission is also authorized to provide its good offices to promote respect for the rules of the humanitarian law of war. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 1108, 1115, 1117 and 1119.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
16.1. Enforcement of the law of armed conflict can involve a wide variety of measures. “Enforcement” is taken here to mean action to ensure observance of the law and also action that may be taken following alleged or actual violations. Action aimed at effective enforcement of the law can include, but is not limited to:
c. High-level formal inquiries into alleged violations. These inquir[i]es may be conducted by commissions established by individual states, by international commissions established by the United Nations (UN) Security Council or other bodies or by the International Fact-Finding Commission, which has been established for the purpose. The reports of such inquiries often propose specific legal action to deal with violations or to prevent their recurrence.
d. International legal adjudication of disputes between states concerning the meaning and implementation of the law, for example by the International Court of Justice.
e. Monitoring of the conduct of parties to an agreement, for example by aerial surveillance by a third party, or by an international presence on the ground, to verify, among other things, that violations of the law do not take place.
f. Good offices and mediation, for example, by neutral states and intermediaries, including protecting powers and independent humanitarian bodies, with a view to ensuring that belligerents comply with the law of armed conflict.
g. Administrative controls over the careers of individuals.
h. Penal and disciplinary measures, such as trials before civil courts or courts-martial or appropriate disciplinary action by commanding officers. Trials may be either within a single state or organized on an international basis.
i. Measures, which may include economic sanctions, arms embargoes and various types of military action, taken under the authority of international bodies, including the UN Security Council, against offending states or armed groups.
j. Demands for compensation in respect of violations.
k. Reprisals by an aggrieved state.
16.1.2. Complaints of unlawful acts and omissions alleged to have been committed by individuals or by commanders are an almost inevitable feature of warfare. All sides will be striving to win the battle for public and world opinion and no state can afford to ignore this. Hostile opinion can lead to loss of political goodwill and public support and damage morale amongst the forces concerned. Failure by belligerent governments to investigate and, where appropriate, punish the alleged unlawful acts of members of their armed forces can contribute to the loss of public and world support, leading to isolation for the state involved.
16.1.3. In earlier times, hostages were often taken, given or exchanged to ensure observance of treaties, armistices and other agreements. The taking of hostages, whether civilian or military, is now prohibited.
16.1.4. On a practical basis, the compliance with the law by one party can, in itself, be a strong inducement to the adverse party to comply with the law. If one party treats prisoners properly and conducts its operations within legal constraints, the adverse party will have less incentive to breach the law and indeed could be severely disadvantaged, not least through world opinion, by so doing. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 16.1 and 16.1.2–16.1.4.
The manual also states:
16.6. In view of the lack of diplomatic relations between states involved in an armed conflict, complaints cannot normally be made through the usual diplomatic channels. However, other methods are available, depending on the degree of publicity required. The traditional method of complaining under the protection of a flag of truce remains although modern communications have meant that the message is more likely now to be transmitted by radio or television. Complaints may be made also through neutral states whether or not the complainant also seeks their good offices to mediate with a view to making the adverse party observe the law of armed conflict.
Mediation
16.7. Good offices and mediation by neutral states for the purpose of settling differences are friendly acts, in contradistinction to intervention, which is dictatorial interference for the purpose of making the belligerents comply with the laws of armed conflict. Specific provision is also made in the Geneva Conventions for conciliation by the protecting powers.
Role of the UN
16.8. The UN, and in particular the Security Council, has taken a wide range of measures regarding the enforcement of the law of armed conflict. These measures have included investigation of violations, urging parties to observe the law, authorizing military action to prevent or respond to violations, the establishment of criminal tribunals.
16.8.1. During the cold war, with frequent uses of the veto by the two super-powers, the Security Council was not active in taking such measures, the power was rarely used and the principal role of the UN was in acting through the “good offices” of the Secretary General. Successive Secretaries-General intervened and mediated with varying degrees of success and whilst their primary role was conflict resolution, efforts were also made in “humanitarian” missions such as those to secure the release of Western hostages in the Lebanon during the Lebanese civil conflict. The Security Council itself has raised the issue of violations of “international humanitarian law” in numerous conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq conflict 1980–88, the Gulf conflict 1990–91, the conflicts in former Yugoslavia 1991–99 and the events in Rwanda in 1994. Such violations led to the Security Council taking coercive action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter as well as using the consent provisions of Chapter VI.
International co-operation
16.9. Ensuring respect for the law of armed conflict is a universal responsibility. International co-operation is encouraged by Additional Protocol I, which provides for:
a. meetings to consider general problems concerning the application of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I;
b. exchange of official translations of the protocol as well as any implementing domestic legislation with similar provisions applying in relation to the conventions;
c. mutual assistance in criminal proceedings brought in respect of grave breaches of the conventions or protocol, including assistance with evidence and extradition;
d. co-operation, jointly or individually, with the UN in situations of serious violations of the conventions or protocol.
Fact-Finding
16.10. Additional Protocol I also provides for the establishment of a permanent International Fact-Finding Commission. This, now known as the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, came into existence in 1991 after twenty states party to the protocol had agreed to accept its competence. It is competent to enquire into an allegation that a grave breach or other serious violation of the conventions or protocol has occurred but only in regard to the conduct of a party that has accepted its competence whether permanently or ad hoc. With the consent of the parties concerned, the commission can also enquire into other violations of the laws of armed conflict and, in all cases, can offer its good offices to assist in helping to restore respect for the conventions and protocol.
16.10.1. There are detailed rules as to the composition and administration of the commission.
16.10.2. It [is] often said that the truth is the first victim of war. Propaganda and counter-propaganda often result in a distortion of facts and statistics. Allegations of war crimes and atrocities are often found, on investigation, to be untrue or exaggerated. An independent fact-finding mission or inquiry can play an important part in establishing the facts, so that appropriate steps to rectify the situation can be taken by an international body. The UN Security Council has been particularly active in this area and has established ad hoc commissions of experts to conduct inquiries. These UN commissions have issued reports on violations, for example, during the Iran-Iraq conflict, in 1984–88; in the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, in 1993–4; and in Rwanda in 1994. In addition, the international criminal tribunals established by the UN for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda have been heavily involved in fact-finding.
16.11. The parties to a conflict are under a duty at the beginning of the conflict or any occupation to appoint a protecting power. If this is not done, or the appointment is not accepted by the adverse party, all parties must accept mediation from the ICRC and, if that fails, accept the ICRC as a substitute. Once protecting powers have been appointed, the parties must permit them to fulfil their role. This includes facilitating to the greatest extent possible the activities of the representatives of the protective power, only restricting those activities exceptionally and temporarily for reasons of imperative military necessity.
Duties of the protecting power
16.12. The specific duties of protecting powers are laid down in various articles of the Geneva Conventions 1949 and Additional Protocol I. These are dealt with in detail in the relevant chapters of this manual. However, their general responsibilities may be summarized as follows:
a. to safeguard the interests of the parties, applying the conventions and protocol with the co-operation of the parties and under the scrutiny of the other protecting powers;
b. to lend their good offices with a view to settling disagreements between the parties to the conflict; and
c. to visit prisoners of war and civilian internees, including the conducting of interviews personally or through an interpreter. It is for the protecting power to select the places for these visits. These may be prohibited only exceptionally and temporarily for reasons of imperative military necessity. If mutually agreed and necessary, compatriots of those interned may be permitted to participate in these visits.
The International Committee of the Red Cross
16.13. The ICRC has, since its establishment, had an important humanitarian role in armed conflict. It is responsible for operating the Central Tracing Agency; maintaining records of prisoners of war, inspecting their camps and providing relief; providing humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of countries in conflict; and it also works behind the scenes to settle disputes and help states comply with the law of armed conflict. The parties to a conflict are under an obligation to give the ICRC all possible facilities to enable it to carry out its humanitarian functions. As far as possible, similar facilities should also be granted to national red cross and red crescent societies. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 16.6–16.11 and 16.12–16.13.
No data.
Australia
In 2009, in the Habib case, Australia’s Federal Court held:
There is no question that the executive power extends to the conduct of foreign relations. However, if there be Commonwealth laws which regulate the conduct of those foreign relations then the executive power is limited thereby and those limits are justiciable. For example, Ch 8 of the Criminal Code (Cth) makes criminal a series of war crimes and crimes against humanity based, in part, on the Third and Fourth [1949] Geneva Conventions. It is beyond doubt that the executive power of the Commonwealth does not run to authorising such crimes under the guise of conducting foreign relations. 
Australia, Federal Court, Habib case, Judgment, 13 March 2009, § 50.
Canada
In the Sinnappu case before a Canadian Federal Court in 1997, the applicants, unsuccessful claimants for refugee status, argued that, inter alia, their deportation to Sri Lanka would violate Canada’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions Act of 1985. The judge held:
I cannot agree that common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 imposes upon Canada an obligation not to return unsuccessful refugee claimants to Sri Lanka. In my opinion, Sri Lanka is engaged in an internal armed conflict to which common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949 and customary law on armed conflicts apply. Since Canada has no involvement whatsoever in that dispute, common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949 does not impose upon our country an obligation to ensure that the parties to that conflict respect common Article 3. Furthermore, even if Canada does have such an obligation under common Article 1, I cannot accept that it would affect the application of our laws pertaining to immigration. Alternatively, even if I am wrong in determining that the armed conflict in Sri Lanka is internal in nature, I have nevertheless concluded that nothing in common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, 1949 would prevent Canada from removing a person, who had exhausted all of his avenues of recourse under the Act and Regulations, to the territory of a state engaged in an international armed conflict. 
Canada, Federal Court Trial Division, Sinnappu case, Judgment, 14 February 1997.
United States of America
In 1985, in the case of a Salvadoran citizen who had fled El Salvador in 1980 and applied for asylum in the United States, it was argued on behalf of the applicant that the United States was precluded from deporting her to El Salvador, as that would mean exposing her to violations of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and thus, by virtue of common Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, involved the responsibility of the United States to ensure respect for the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, notably its Article 3. An Immigration Court in the United States held that the applicant, “a Salvadoran citizen who is not taking active part in the hostilities, is a protected person under the minimum provisions set forth in Article 3” common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and that the 1949 Geneva Convention IV “provides a potential basis for relief from deportation within the jurisdiction of the immigration judge”. 
United States, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Harlingen, Texas, Case No. A26 949 415: In the Matter of Jesus del Carmen Medina, in Deportation Proceedings, Decision, 25 July 1985, referred to in Frits Kalshoven, “The Undertaking to Respect and Ensure Respect in All Circumstances: From Tiny Seed to Ripening Fruit”, YIHL, Vol. 2, 1999, pp. 4–5.
However, on appeal, the US Board of Immigration Appeals reversed these findings and concluded that it was unclear “what obligations, if any, Article 1 [common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions] was intended to impose with respect to violations of the Conventions by other States” and that, in any event, the said provision was not self-executing. 
United States, Board of Immigration Appeals, Case No. A26 949 415 – Harlingen, In re Jesus del Carmen Medina, in Deportation Proceedings: Certification, Decision of 7 October 1988, referred to in Frits Kalshoven, “The Undertaking to Respect and Ensure Respect in All Circumstances: From Tiny Seed to Ripening Fruit”, YIHL, Vol. 2, 1999, p. 5.
United States of America
In the Baptist Churches case in 1989, a US District Court considered an application for an injunction to prevent the deportation of Central American nationals seeking temporary refuge based on, inter alia, Articles 1, 3 and 45 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. The plaintiffs argued that “by deporting Salvadorans and Guatemalans to countries where Article 3 violations are occurring, the United States … failed to ‘respect and ensure respect’ for the Convention within the meaning of Article 1”. 
United States, District Court for the Northern District of California, Baptist Churches case, Judgment, 24 March 1989, § 9.
Reiterating criteria that had to be met by a treaty in order to be self-executing and applying them to Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, the Court stated:
Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions is not a self-executing treaty provision. The language used does not impose any specific obligations on the signatory nations, nor does it provide any intelligible guidelines for judicial enforcement … The treaty provision is “phrased in broad generalities” … and contains no “rules by which private rights may be determined”. 
United States, District Court for the Northern District of California, Baptist Churches case, Judgment, 24 March 1989, § 12.
Australia, Canada and New Zealand condemn the ongoing grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur, Sudan, which are having a huge impact on the civilian population in that part of the country … We call on the Government of Sudan to acknowledge these violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and for it and all parties to the conflict in Darfur to take the necessary measures to halt the atrocities being committed against the civilian population and to respect their international legal obligations. 
Australia, Statement by the representative of Canada before the UN Commission on Human Rights on the human rights situation in Sudan, made on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 2005, p. 1.
Australia
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council, the ambassador and permanent representative of Australia stated:
Australia was deeply saddened by the tragic events of December-January in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel.
Australia’s strong support for Israel’s right to self-defence is clear. Australia remains greatly concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Since late 2007, Australia has provided extensive development and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Territories, since the conflict in Gaza.
During the conflict, Australia said it was incumbent upon all parties to do everything they could to avoid civilian casualties. We said that we expect all parties to abide by and respect human rights and international humanitarian law. 
Australia, Statement by the ambassador and permanent representative before the UN Human Rights Council, 12th Session, Item 7, 29 September 2009.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Australia, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Bangladesh
In 2010, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh stated:
[T]otal disregard and rejection of humanitarian and international laws and values especially being committed by occupation forces in the occupied territories of Palestine for years is a disgrace for humanity. My delegation strongly urges the international community, particularly the [UN Security] Council, to take effective steps to ensure respect for and compliance with the [1949] Geneva Conventions in such [a] situation. 
Bangladesh, Statement by the Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 7 July 2010.
Belgium
In 2007, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa, the representative of Belgium stated, with reference to Somalia: “While stressing the primary responsibility of the Transitional Federal Government [of Somalia], Belgium … recalls [all parties’] obligation to respect international humanitarian law.” 
Belgium, Statement by the deputy permanent representative of Belgium before the UN Security Council on the “Humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa”, 21 May 2007, p. 18.
Belgium
In 2007, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in Somalia, the representative of Belgium stated: “All parties … are duty-bound to … respect international humanitarian law.” 
Belgium, Statement by the permanent representative of Belgium before the UN Security Council on “The situation in Somalia”, 17 December 2007, p. 10.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise.  
Belgium, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Brazil
In 2005, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations stated at the International Conference on Iraq:
A timetable has been set for the election of a constitutional government in Iraq by the end of this year. It is important that Iraqi forces be in a position to take full responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security. Strict respect for human rights and humanitarian law is imperative. 
Brazil, Statement by the Minister of Foreign Relations at the International Conference on Iraq, Brussels, press release No. 317, 22 June 2005, § 9.
Brazil
In 2009, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations stated:
Today, August 12, 2009, the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions on International Humanitarian Law is celebrated. The Conventions, which are the main legal instrument in this area, lay down universal rules on the treatment of the wounded, prisoners of war and the protection of civilian persons. Brazil ratified the four Conventions in 1957. 
On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Conventions, the Brazilian Government reaffirms its commitment to upholding International Humanitarian Law and calls on the international community to fully comply with the principles of the Conventions, in favor of the protection of life and human dignity in the midst of armed conflicts. 
Brazil, Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, 60th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions on Humanitarian Law, Note No. 377, 12 August 2009.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Brazil, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Canada
In 2005, in a statement before the UN Commission on Human Rights on the human rights situation in Sudan, made on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the representative of Canada stated:
Australia, Canada and New Zealand condemn the ongoing grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur, Sudan, which are having a huge impact on the civilian population in that part of the country … We call on the Government of Sudan to acknowledge these violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and for it and all parties to the conflict in Darfur to take the necessary measures to halt the atrocities being committed against the civilian population and to respect their international legal obligations. 
Canada, Statement by the representative of Canada before the UN Commission on Human Rights on the human rights situation in Sudan, made on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 2005, p. 1.
Canada
In 2006, in response to a question during House of Commons debates relating to the Canadian Government’s reaction to civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip in consequence of armed violence, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency stated: “We called upon the Palestinian Authority, as well as Israel, to take concrete steps toward reducing violence, protecting civilian life and taking all steps to move toward a peaceful solution.” 
Canada, House of Commons Debates, Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, 9 November 2006, Canadian Yearbook of International Law, 2007, volume XLV, pp. 475–476.
Canada
In 2009, in its third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Canada stated under the heading “Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict”:
Under current export control policy guidelines, the Government of Canada closely controls the export of military goods and technology to countries that pose a threat to Canada and its allies; that are involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities; that are under United Nations Security Council sanctions; or whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens, unless it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population. An application to export small arms and light weapons to a country where they might be utilized by child soldiers, regardless of whether these children take a direct part in hostilities as members of their armed forces or armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of a State, would be closely examined. Any available information in this regard would be among the most important considerations of the Minister in reaching a decision on the disposal of such an application. 
Canada, Third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 4 January 2012, UN Doc. CRC/C/CAN/3-4, submitted 20 November 2009, § 113.
[footnote in original omitted]
Canada
In 2012, in a statement before the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on the promotion and protection of human rights, the permanent representative of Canada stated:
[A]ll parties to the conflict [in Syria] must respect international law and ensure the protection of civilians … Canada has imposed tough sanctions on the Assad regime. We call upon the [UN] Security Council and the international community to do the same to increase international pressure on the Syrian regime. Canada calls … for those countries in a position to influence Syria to press the Syrian regime to end the violence and allow an inclusive, Syrian-led political transition to occur. 
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Canada before the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on the promotion and protection of human rights, 8 November 2012.
Canada
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on children and armed conflict, made on behalf of the Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, the permanent representative of Canada stated:
The Friends … urge relevant Member States to allow for dialogue between the United Nations and non-state actors to influence them to cease violations against children and conclude and implement action plans to this end … The Friends [network] reiterates its call for the [Security] Council to ensure that grave violations against children trigger the imposition of sanctions in all relevant sanctions committees. 
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council debate on children and armed conflict, made on behalf of the Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, namely Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania and Uruguay, 17 June 2013, pp. 1–2.
Canada
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Canada stated: “Canada calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to refrain from attacking civilians and other protected persons and facilities in conformity with their obligations under international law.”  
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 19 August 2013, p. 1.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Canada, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
China
At the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2007, China stated:
International humanitarian law, especially the four Geneva Conventions and their protocols, are the cornerstone of the humanitarian cause. We are pleased to see that Geneva conventions became the first conventions signed by all countries in the world, which demonstrates the importance attached to the humanitarian cause by the international community. We should take further steps to promote and implement the international humanitarian law, spreading its basic principles to every corner of the world to ensure that relevant humanitarian institutions are able to provide prompt and necessary assistance and protection to all the victims in wars and armed conflicts in accordance with the principles of humanitarianism and neutralism. 
China, Statement by Head of the Chinese Government Delegation at the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, 29 November 2007.
Cuba
In 2009, in a statement before the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the report of the special committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories, the representative of Cuba stated:
Cuba condemns the prolonged Israeli military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967 and expresses grave concern over the impunity with which Israel has acted and continues to act, in particular after the military aggression “Cast Lead”, carried out against the inhabitants of Gaza at the end of 2008 and beginning of this year.
Cuba reaffirms that all the measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, to alter the legal, physical and demographic status of the occupied Syrian Golan and its institutional structure or to impose its jurisdiction and administration there are null and void and have no legal effect. We reaffirm that all these measures and actions, including the illegal construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the Syrian Golan since 1967, constitute violations of international law, international agreements, the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations. Cuba demands that Israel abides by resolution 497 (1981) and withdraws completely from occupied Syrian Golan to the borders of 4 June 1967. 
Cuba, Statement by the representative of Cuba before the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly on Item 32: Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, 10 November 2009, pp. 1–2.
Cuba
In 2010, in a statement before the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the representative of Cuba stated:
Cuba considers it unjustifiable that the Palestinian people continue to suffer under the long and brutal Israeli military occupation of their land since 1967 and continue to be denied fundamental human rights …
It is disquieting to see the tragic worsening in the political, economic, social and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as a result of the incessant illegal policies and practices carried out by Israel, the Occupying Power, against the Palestinian people.
This year, following the criminal attack committed by the special forces of the Israeli Army, in the early morning of 31 May, against a flotilla of ships that were in international waters and were carrying humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip, Cuba called on the international community to request the Israeli authorities to immediately lift the illegal, ruthless and genocidal blockade against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. 
Cuba, Statement by the representative of Cuba before the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly on Item 51: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, 2 November 2010, pp. 1–2.
Cuba
In 2010, in a statement before the UN General Assembly on the Palestinian question, the ambassador and permanent representative of Cuba stated:
The Occupying Power continues its intensive colonization activities, such as the ongoing practice of confiscating large tracts of land, the construction and extension of Israeli settlements and the construction of the Wall.
… These activities are aimed at modifying the demographic composition, character and nature of the Palestinian lands, annexing them de facto by means of confiscating large areas [of territory].
Cuba condemns those policies and practices, which violate international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, United Nations resolutions and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and we insist that Israel immediately end all of these illegal practices. 
Cuba, Statement by the ambassador and permanent representative of Cuba before the UN General Assembly on Item 37: The Palestinian Question, 29 November 2010, p. 2.
Denmark
In 2008, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the representative of Sweden stated:
States have a duty to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. With universal recognition of the [1949] Geneva Conventions, ensuring respect becomes a common goal for all states in the world. Joint efforts to promote and improve compliance with the Geneva Conventions are needed and must remain a priority. 
Denmark, Statement by the representative of Sweden before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on Item 76: Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflicts, made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 23 October 2008.
The representative of Sweden further stated: “We call upon all states and entities to respect the existing body of international humanitarian law” 
Denmark, Statement by the representative of Sweden before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on Item 76: Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflicts, made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 23 October 2008.
The situation in the world today clearly shows that the protection of victims of armed conflict must improve. The legal framework exists, but lack of respect for the agreed rules and principles remains a challenge that has to be addressed. In this regards we welcome the ongoing discussions on a number of topics on how to improve the situation for victims of armed conflict. The Nordic countries in particular welcome the initiative by Switzerland in cooperation with the ICRC on enhancing and ensuring the effectiveness of mechanisms of compliance.
Let me conclude by recalling that all states have a duty to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. Joint efforts to promote and improve compliance with the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are still needed and must remain a priority. 
Denmark, Statement by the Counsellor and Legal Advisor of Sweden for the Sixth Committee on the protection of victims of armed conflict made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 20 October 2014.
Egypt
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Egypt stated:
The Arab Republic of Egypt, while declaring its commitment to respecting all the provisions of Additional Protocols I and II, wishes to emphasize, on the basis of reciprocity, that it upholds the right to react against any violation by any party of the obligations imposed by Additional Protocols I and II with all means admissible under international law in order to prevent any further violation. In this context it wishes to assert that military commanders planning or executing attacks make their decisions on the basis of their assessment of all kinds of information available to them at the time of the military operations. 
Egypt, Declaration made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 9 October 1992.
The situation in the world today clearly shows that the protection of victims of armed conflict must improve. The legal framework exists, but lack of respect for the agreed rules and principles remains a challenge that has to be addressed. In this regards we welcome the ongoing discussions on a number of topics on how to improve the situation for victims of armed conflict. The Nordic countries in particular welcome the initiative by Switzerland in cooperation with the ICRC on enhancing and ensuring the effectiveness of mechanisms of compliance.
Let me conclude by recalling that all states have a duty to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. Joint efforts to promote and improve compliance with the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are still needed and must remain a priority. 
Finland, Statement by the Counsellor and Legal Advisor of Sweden for the Sixth Committee on the protection of victims of armed conflict made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 20 October 2014.
France
In 2008, the Prime Minister of France stated:
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France endeavours to strengthen, through its actions and political influence, respect for IHL as well as the protection of humanitarian personnel. Resolution 1674 adopted on 28 April 2006 by the UN Security Council, on the initiative of France, condemns … deliberate attacks against UN personnel and associated personnel taking part in humanitarian missions, as well as against the personnel of other humanitarian organizations …
Also, under the 30th Conference of the ICRC in November 2007 in Geneva, France undertook to strengthen the protection of the emblems of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement within domestic law. All this contributes to a better protection of humanitarian personnel in the field …
… The European Parliament adopted on 23 December 2005 the guidelines of the European Union for the promotion of IHL, and France will strengthen their application during its presidency.
Concerning international criminal justice … The fight against impunity constitutes an indispensable complement to the respect for IHL … France plays … an active role in the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the special Senegalese court that will be in charge of trying former president Hissène Habré. 
France, Response by the Prime Minister to the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights’ opinion on the Respect and Protection of Humanitarian Relief Personnel adopted on 17 January 2008, 27 May 2008, pp. 1–2.
France
In 2009, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
[A]ll states parties to the conventions [1949 Geneva Conventions and their protocols] must not only obey them but also ensure that they are obeyed by the parties in an armed conflict.
What that means is that the international community has a special responsibility in ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law.
France is engaged in numerous peacekeeping operations under UN mandates. The purpose of several of them – first and foremost the European Union operation in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic – is to provide protection to innocent civilians.
Such protection must involve first and foremost a guarantee of adherence to the principles of international humanitarian law in armed conflict and the inclusion of the issues surrounding the protection of civilians in mandates for peacekeeping operations.
I am convinced that compliance with international humanitarian law must be made the subject of depoliticized discussions at the United Nations, since such compliance is the duty of all, irrespective of the legitimacy of the military action undertaken by a specific state or armed group.
That is why I have asked France’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York to mobilize our partners on this matter. 
France, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, “The Savaging of Humanitarian Law”, New York Times, 28 January 2009, pp. 1–3.
France
In 2009, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
Violations of humanitarian law are ever increasing, as the current crises are unfortunately there to remind us, whether we are looking at Darfur, Somalia, Gaza, Sri Lanka or the Kivus. …
We must react!
The mechanisms put in place by the [UN] Security Council are indispensable, [including] the simple call for respect for international humanitarian law. 
France, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, “International Humanitarian Law, an Imperative”, La Croix, 12 February 2009, p. 1.
France
In 2009, the President of the French Republic stated:
In Sri Lanka … France has endeavoured to ensure that the civilian population is no longer being held hostage. … Together with the UN Secretary General, we demand a humanitarian truce in order to allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone and to receive the assistance to which it is entitled.
… States are responsible for the security of the humanitarian personnel intervening in their territory …
… France will spare no effort in order for this duty to protect to be strictly applied and respected at the Security Council and in the field.
… [E]very time a country prevents humanitarian personnel from assisting the civilian population, France will act at the international level in order to condemn the action of such country. 
France, Address by the President of the French Republic on the 90th Anniversary of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 4 May 2009, pp. 2–5.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
France, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Germany
In 1995, in reply to a question from members of parliament concerning Russian action in Chechnya, the German Government stated:
The Federal Government has repeatedly reminded Russia of the latter’s duty to abide by its obligations under Protocol II additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which provides for the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts and thus applies to the conflict in Chechnya. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Reply of the Federal Government to a question from members of the Federal Parliament, BT-Drucksache 13/718, 9 March 1995, p. 3.
Germany
In 2000, Germany’s Federal Government adopted Political Principles for the Export of War Weapons and Other Military Equipment, which state:
4. Licences for exports under the KWKG [Law on the Control of War Weapons] and/or the AWG [Foreign Trade and Payments Law] will not be granted if the internal situation in the country concerned precludes such exports, for examine if there are armed internal confrontations or if there is sufficient suspicion that the weapons would be abused for the purposes of internal suppression or for continued and systematic human rights violations. Regarding this question, the human rights situation in the receiving country plays an important role.
5. The transfer of war weapons and other military equipment related to war weapons is not allowed to countries:
- which are involved in armed confrontations or where such armed confrontations are imminent;
- where the outbreak of armed confrontations is imminent or where such exports would trigger, perpetuate or exacerbate existing tensions and conflicts.
This is why transfers to countries which are involved in external armed conflicts or where there is a danger that such conflicts may erupt are ruled out in principle unless in cases covered by Article 51 of the [1945] UN Charter.
7. Moreover, the receiving country’s conduct is taken into account regarding:
- compliance with international obligations, in particular refraining from the use of force, including obligations under international humanitarian law applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Germany, Political Principles of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Export of War Weapons and Other Military Equipment, 29 January 2000, § II(4)–(5) and (7).
[footnote in original omitted]
Germany
In 2003, in a speech at the UN Commission on Human Rights, Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs stated:
The 59th Session of the Commission on Human Rights convenes at a dramatic time. A war is waging in Iraq. Its consequences and effects are a cause of great concern for a large majority of the population in Germany and Europe. War is terrible. War always represents a defeat. It is a great tragedy, first and foremost for those involved, but also for us all.
… The community of states is called upon more urgently than ever to respond to these dramatic events.
For human rights are always especially at risk in times of war and crisis. The war will further weaken the Iraqi population. Above all women, children and vulnerable groups will be those who suffer most. The risk of an imminent humanitarian disaster is a cause of grave concern.
For this reason we must today call on all warring parties to fully and absolutely abide by international humanitarian law. Above all the civilian population must be protected. The parties to the conflict must treat prisoners of war in compliance with the Geneva Convention.
The human rights situation in Chechnya continues to be a cause of concern. On the one hand the acts of terrorism committed by the Chechen rebels must be clearly condemned. On the other hand, the Government in Moscow must respect human rights and the basic principles of humanitarian law in its legitimate fight against terrorism. We expect our Russian partners to do justice to their responsibilities in the North Caucasus, to prevent future human rights violations and to prosecute those who have committed them in the past. In this context we welcome President Putin’s announcement that the Russian security forces will curb their cleansing operations. Despite all the serious publicly expressed doubts about the recent referendum, we hope that it will drive forward the process towards a genuine political solution. 
Germany, Speech by Joschka Fischer, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs at the UN Commission on Human Rights, 25 March 2003.
Germany
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
It is safe to say that it has become common wisdom that there is an interdependence among peace, democracy, justice and development. Yet it is appalling to observe that the determination to transform that wisdom into practical action is greatly lacking. All too often, efforts to strengthen the international rule of law are on the defensive and international law is ignored, or even declared obsolete, at the national level. In that context, Germany recalls the well-established obligations under international law – in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I to all four Conventions, which contain the basic rules for the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
Let me take this opportunity to express our hope that the forthcoming report of the Secretary-General on justice and the rule of law will reiterate that achieving the purposes of the United Nations – notably, peace, security and development – requires an increase in the level of guarantees and protection afforded to civilians. That is also the vision of the European Security Strategy, adopted by European Union member States as recently as 12 December 2003: to develop a rules-based international order.
In that context, the International Criminal Court deserves particular mention as an institution that has the potential to address one of the worst root causes of violating the integrity of civilians: impunity.
Combatants violating the principles of humanitarian law – be it by acts directed against civilians or by acts against humanitarian personnel – need to know that they are acting against fundamental principles of humanity and that their acts will eventually come under the judicial scrutiny of the International Criminal Court or of a regional tribunal. What is needed is to move even further towards universal acceptance of its jurisdiction, not to create new pockets of impunity, like those proposed by Security Council resolutions 1422 (2002) and 1487 (2003).
On the basis of the new report of the Secretary-General that we are considering today, I would like to share with the Council a catalogue of three areas for measures to move our protection agenda forward.
The first area is the protection of women and children … The second area is humanitarian access and the security of humanitarian personnel … Thirdly, regarding refugees and internally displaced persons, in general, their situation must be improved …
Germany thus proposes the following measures.
The first is a new resolution on the protection of civilians; the most recent resolution that the Security Council adopted on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (resolution 1296 (2000)) dates from 2000. That resolution, as well as the preceding relevant resolution (resolution 1265 (1999)), were regarded as a starting point. After four years we feel the need for an update of the most recent resolution, to take into account recent developments and the changing character of conflicts. Germany would support efforts aimed at adopting a new resolution.
A second measure would be more frequent reporting by the Emergency Relief Coordinator …
A third measure would be the promotion of the responsibility of new actors. There are new actors in the area of the protection of civilians in armed conflict whom we have to deal with. More than ever before, we need constructive engagement with non-State armed groups. They not only have the potential to deny humanitarian actors humanitarian access; they actually do it. They are also a potential source of harm to the civilian populations where they operate. Without legitimizing them and their actions, we must explore innovative ways to engage them in a constructive dialogue and, where necessary, to pressure them to make them abide by international humanitarian law and human rights norms.
Negotiating with armed non-State actors is a tricky issue. It requires flexibility and realism, but it should not come at the expense of impunity. Perpetrators of serious crimes against civilians must be brought to justice, irrespective of whether those groups operate against or in complicity with their respective Governments. This is a very contentious issue because questions of national sovereignty are at stake. But national sovereignty cannot and should not be an excuse when thousands of innocent, vulnerable civilians are threatened. The imposition of targeted sanctions and travel restrictions are possible measures against non-State armed groups and those who back them. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.4990, 14 June 2004, pp. 23–25.
Germany
In 2004, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the representative of Germany stated:
On this occasion, Germany would like to propose three points that we deem to be of crucial importance concerning areas where the need for progress is urgent. … We propose the following.
First, let us put an end to impunity. Impunity is one of the worst root causes of the violation of the integrity of civilians. Parties to armed conflict need to comply with international humanitarian law, in particular the four Geneva Conventions and their two Additional Protocols. If we do not end impunity for violations of international humanitarian law, refugee law and human rights law, there will be no deterrent for the perpetrators of such acts of violence and aggression. Combatants who violate the principles of humanitarian law – be it by committing acts against civilians or acts against humanitarian personnel – need to know that they are acting against fundamental principles of humanity and that their acts will eventually come under the close scrutiny of the International Criminal Court or of a regional tribunal.
In that regard, we fully concur with the High-level Panel in its calls on combatants to abide by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and on all Member States to sign, ratify and act upon all treaties relating to the protection of civilians, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and all refugee conventions. I would like to emphasize the role that the International Criminal Court might have in addressing the issue of impunity. We regret that there is serious disagreement about the role of the Court. We believe that we should consider options and possibilities aimed at bridging those differences, because we need to advance further towards universal acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction.
My second point is that we should better address the issue of humanitarian access … Thirdly, we must stop the recent trend of using sexual violence as a weapon of conflict …
Let me end my remarks by reiterating our position: we believe that a new resolution on the protection of civilians would be a feasible option for the Council. I say that, bearing in mind that many of the points raised by the excellent Security Council resolutions 1265 (1999) and 1296 (2000) still await implementation. However, we believe that the changing character of conflict and the development of new threats, new institutions and new tools to engage more effectively in assistance should be reflected in an operational text adopted by the Council. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.5100, 14 December 2004, pp. 18–19.
Germany
In 2007, in reply to questions by a Member of the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), a German Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, stated:
In the context of its EU Council Presidency, what initiative has the Federal Government taken or is it still going to take in order to contribute to or enforce the closing of the US camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and what, if applicable, are the elements of the initiative?
… already on 9 January 2006, the Federal Chancellor publicly declared that an institution such as Guantánamo must not exist in the long term and that means and ways for a different handling of the detainees must be found. She advanced this position also at the occasion of her first visit on 12 and 13 January 2006 vis-à-vis President Bush. Also the EU advances this position and has repeatedly made this clear vis-à-vis the United States. The issue was, inter alia, prominently addressed during the last EU/US summit in Vienna on 21 June 2006. Also in its capacity as holder of the EU Council Presidency, the Federal Government will continue advancing this line in political talks with the United States.
Furthermore, the Federal Government and the EU are in a dialogue with the US concerning legal questions arising in the fight against terrorism. It is, inter alia, the aim of this dialogue to point out possibilities how international terrorism can be fought effectively while observing international law. 
Germany, Bundestag, Stenographic Report, 75th Sitting, Berlin, Wednesday, 17 January 2007, Reply by Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, Plenarprotokoll 16/75, 17 January 2007, p. 7528.
Germany
In 2007, in reply to a written question by a Member of the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), a German State Secretary, Federal Foreign Office, wrote:
7. … Has the Federal Government protested against actions of the United States incompatible with international law in connection with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (torture of prisoners, illegal detentions in Guantánamo, abductions and transports of detainees by the CIA in violation of the sovereignty of European States), and when did it do this?
8. … Vis-à-vis whom and in which way did the Federal Government protest against actions of the United States incompatible with international law in connection with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (torture of prisoners, illegal detentions in Guantánamo, abductions and transports of detainees by the CIA in violations of the sovereignty of European States), and when did it do this?
The European Union and the United States have affirmed that measures combating terrorism must, without limitations, be in line with their international obligations, including human rights, refugee law and international humanitarian law (comp. declaration of the EU-US summit of 21 June 2006). The European Union and the United States are involved in an intensive dialogue on international law and the fight against terrorism. In October 2006, on the initiative of the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also a German-American colloquium on this issue took place. In this context it is the aim of the Federal Government that also in the future the normative common ground of the principles of the rule of law unites Europe and the United States. In the framework of this dialogue also critical questions are addressed, so for example the situation of the detainees in Guantánamo. Before her first meeting with President George W. Bush in January 2006, Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel has made clear that an institution such as Guantánamo Bay cannot and must not exist like this in the long term (interview with Spiegel magazine, 9 January 2006). The Federal Chancellor and the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs have addressed the issue also during meetings with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. At their meeting on 15 September 2006, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union affirmed that the existence of secret places of detention, where arrested persons are held in custody in a legal vacuum, is not consistent with international humanitarian law and human rights. As regards the overall position of the Federal Government, I further refer to the explanations in the “Report of the Federal Government in response to the request of the Parliamentary Control Panel of 25 January 2006 regarding incidents in connection with the Iraq war and the fight against international terrorism” of 23 February 2006, which is available to you. 
Germany, Bundestag, Written questions with the replies by the Federal Government received in the week of 19 February 2007, Reply by State Secretary, Federal Foreign Office, 22 February 2007, BT-Drs. 16/4368, 23 February 2007, pp. 6–7.
Germany
In 2007, in reply to questions by a Member of the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), a German Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, stated:
The Federal Government several times has made clear its view vis-à-vis the United States regarding Guantánamo and the necessity of a treatment of detainees in line with human dignity. At the highest level and publicly, it has declared that an institution such as Guantánamo must not exist like this in the long term, and that means and ways for a different handling of the detainees must be found. Independent of the question of their status in the individual case, the Guantánamo detainees are to be treated according to the legal standards of international humanitarian law and human rights.
… We – not only the Federal Republic of Germany, but also the European Union – are in a constant dialogue with the United States, in order to insist on compliance with international law standards. Furthermore, in the framework of the bilateral relations between Germany and the United States – you know there is a frank and honest dialogue with the US State Department – we, in particular, very intensely address the role of the rule of law in the fight against terrorism. 
Germany, Bundestag, Stenographic Report, 114th Sitting, Berlin, Wednesday, 19 September 2007, Reply by Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, Plenarprotokoll 16/114, 19 September 2007, pp. 11774–11775.
Germany
In 2007, in reply to a written question by a Member of the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), a German Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, wrote:
13. … To the knowledge of the Federal Government, are press reports correct according to which the United States in conducting “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan uses interrogation methods partly highly questionable under human rights, and if yes, what efforts does the Federal Government make vis-à-vis the US allies to push for compliance with human rights standards during interrogations in Afghanistan?
The Federal Government has no own information on interrogation methods of the US armed forces in the framework of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Independent of that, it has repeatedly made clear vis-à-vis the US administration on all levels that international terrorism must be combated decisively, but that while doing so the principles of the rule of law and international law obligations must be taken into account.
The Federal Government will continue emphatically advancing this position. 
Germany, Bundestag, Written questions with the replies by the Federal Government received in the week of 17 December 2007, Reply by Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office, 20 September 2007, BT-Drs. 16/7639, 21 December 2007, p. 6.
Germany
In 2009, in reply to a Minor Interpellation in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) entitled “Gaza War”, Germany’s Federal Government wrote: “The Federal Government has always emphasized that fundamental rules of international humanitarian law must also be respected in Gaza”. 
Germany, Lower House of Federal Parliament (Bundestag), Reply by the Federal Government to the Minor Interpellation by the Members Dr. Norman Paech, Monika Knoche, Wolfgang Gehrcke, further Members and the Parliamentary Group DIE LINKE, BT-Drs. 16/12087, 27 February 2009, p. 4; see also Lower House of Federal Parliament (Bundestag), Reply by the Federal Government to the Minor Interpellation by the Members Winfried Nachtwei, Kerstin Müller (Cologne), Jürgen Trittin, other Members and the Parliamentary Group BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, BT-Drs. 16/12673, 20 April 2009, p. 2.
Germany
In 2009, Germany’s Federal Foreign Minister stated:
I appeal urgently to all conflict parties in Sri Lanka to ensure the protection of the civilian population and adhere to international humanitarian law. … [I]t is clear that a lasting resolution of the conflict can only be achieved through political means. My country is ready and willing to do all it can to support such a process. 
Germany, Statement by the Federal Foreign Minister on the protection of civilians in Sri Lanka, 23 April 2009.
Germany
In 2009, at a ceremony commemorating “150 years since Solferino”, Germany’s Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office stated:
It is the duty of the community of States to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in a determined and credible manner, including as regards the investigation and punishment of serious violations. In particular due to the increase in violations [of IHL], we must not silently accept disrespect for and violations of international humanitarian law. 
Germany, Speech by the Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office on the occasion of a ceremony commemorating “150 years since Solferino”, 26 June 2009.
Germany
In 2010, in its 2008 Military Equipment Report, Germany’s Federal Government stated:
[T]he following applies for the group of third countries: The export of war weapons is approved only in exceptional cases where, as justified by the individual situation, special foreign policy or security policy interests of Germany would support the granting of a licence. For other military equipment, licences are granted only insofar as such action does not endanger the interests to be protected under foreign trade and payments law …
The recipient country’s conduct towards the international community, for example … its compliance with its international obligations, particularly with respect to international humanitarian law … , [is one of several] other criteria when deciding whether a licence for the export of war weapons is to be granted. 
Germany, 2008 Military Equipment Report, 1 April 2010, p. 8; see also p. 9.
Germany
In 2010, in its report on German humanitarian aid abroad between 2006 and 2009 which was submitted to the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), Germany’s Federal Government stated: “The Federal Government advocates the respect of international humanitarian law in its international relations”. 
Germany, Report by the Federal Government on German Humanitarian Aid Abroad 2006 to 2009, 5 August 2010, p. 24.
Germany
In 2010, in reply to a Minor Interpellation in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) entitled “German nationals in private security companies and in the foreign legion operating abroad”, Germany’s Federal Government wrote:
26. In what time frame does the Federal Government plan to implement the resolution on the control of non-State military security companies (see Bundestagsdrucksache 16/10846)?
The Federal Government continues to be open in principle to initiatives at the international or national level aiming at the effective control of the conduct of private security companies. This is why it has actively participated in the drafting and adoption of the so-called [2008] Montreux Document [on pertinent international legal obligations and good practices for States related to operations of private military and security companies during armed conflict]. The Montreux Document summarizes the provisions of international law which are relevant for non-State security companies and includes recommended actions. …
a) How does the Federal Government plan to ensure that … private security companies, due to their definition and status as “non-combatants”, do not consider themselves bound by international law and undermine international humanitarian law?
Employees of private security companies who are not members of regular armed forces within the meaning of Article 43, paragraph 2 of the Additional Protocol of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflict do not enjoy combatant status. Employees of private security companies who are not combatants are bound by international humanitarian law and can be prosecuted by domestic courts or the International Criminal Court if they have committed war crimes in armed conflict. 
Germany, Lower House of Federal Parliament (Bundestag), Reply by the Federal Government to the Minor Interpellation by Members Inge Höger, Jan van Aken, Christine Buchholz, further Members and the Parliamentary Group DIE LINKE, BT-Drs. 17/4012, 1 November 2010, p. 9.
Germany
In 2010, in its third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Germany stated:
Prohibition with respect to the sale of arms when the final destination is a country where children are known to be or may potentially be recruited or used in hostilities (para. 23, CRC/C/OPAC/DEU/CO/1)
42. The Federal Government has complied with the suggestion to examine the possibility of such a prohibition. These aspects are taken into consideration as follows in the Federal Government’s arms export control policy. The Federal Government’s arms export control policy is based on the Federal Government’s political principles for the export of arms and other military equipment in the version of 19 January 2000. The political principles distinguish between arms exports to NATO countries, EU member States and countries on an equal footing with NATO (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland) which in principle are not to be restricted, and exports to all other States (so-called third-party countries). The export of arms and other military goods to these States is dealt with restrictively. All applications for export licences are decided on in the respective individual case after carefully weighing up above all the foreign, security and human rights policy arguments. Major criteria of each decision here are inter alia conflict prevention and compliance with human rights in the recipient country. Export licences are not considered if the domestic situation in the recipient country is against this, such as in case of armed domestic or international conflicts. 
Germany, Third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights the Child, 11 September 2012, UN Doc. CRC/C/DEU/3-4, submitted 10 October 2010, § 42.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Germany, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Ireland
In 2008, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a written response to a question on an application for refugee status, stated: “The Government has repeatedly stated its desire to see the United States Administration take steps to release or bring to trial all [Guantánamo] detainees in accordance with established legal norms, and to close Guantánamo Bay as soon as possible.” 
Ireland, Dáil Eireann (House of Deputies), Minister for Foreign Affairs, Written Answers – Refugee Status, Dáil Eireann debate Vol. 635 No. 6, 8 May 2008.
Israel
In communications in relation to the declarations made in the instruments of accession by Oman, the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Emirates to the 1977 Additional Protocol I and, in the case of Oman, also the 1977 Additional Protocol II, Israel stated:
The Instrument deposited by the Sultanate of Oman includes a hostile declaration of a political character regarding Israel … The statement by the Sultanate of Oman cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon it under general international law or under particular conventions. In so far as the substance of the matter is concerned, the Government of Israel will adopt towards the Sultanate of Oman an attitude of complete reciprocity.
The Instrument deposited by the Government of the Arab Republic of Syria contains a hostile statement of a political character in respect of Israel … This statement by the Government of the Arab Republic of Syria cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon the Arab Republic of Syria under general international law or under particular conventions. The Government of the State of Israel will, in so far as concerns the substance of the matter, adopt towards the Government of the Arab Republic of Syria an attitude of complete reciprocity.
The Instrument deposited by the Government of the United Arab Emirates contains a statement of a political character in respect of Israel … This statement by the Government of the United Arab Emirates cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon the United Arab Emirates under general international law or under particular conventions. The Government of the State of Israel will, in so far as concerns the substance of the matter, adopt towards the Government of the United Arab Emirates an attitude of complete reciprocity. 
Israel, Communications made in relation to the declarations made in the instruments of accession by Oman, Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Emirates to the 1977 Additional Protocol I and, in the case of Oman, also the 1977 Additional Protocol II, reprinted in Dietrich Schindler and Jirí Toman, The Law of Armed Conflicts, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers/Henry Dunant Institute, Dordrecht/Geneva, 1988, pp. 711–712.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Italy, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Japan, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Jordan
The Report on the Practice of Jordan states that Jordan has
always protested against the Israeli breaches of Human Rights and of International Humanitarian Law in the occupied territories and it always asked Israel to refrain from further breaches. Jordan used also to request the ICRC to urge Israel to observe the rules of I.H.L. and to appeal to the UN and through it to the whole community of States. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 6.2.
Malaysia
In 2006, during the consideration of the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols by the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, a statement of the delegation of Malaysia was summarized by the Committee in its records as follows:
[The delegate of Malaysia] said that the [Sixth] Committee [of the UN General Assembly] must underline the need for renewed compliance with international humanitarian law. Despite almost universal accession to the relevant treaties, atrocities continued to be perpetrated against civilians, non-combatants and other protected persons, even in countries that were parties to the [1949] Geneva Conventions and their [1977] Additional Protocols. 
Malaysia, Statement by the delegation of Malaysia before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflict, 18 October 2006, as published in the summary record of the 8th meeting,15 November 2006, UN Doc. A/C.6/61/SR.8, § 63.
Malaysia
In 2012, during the consideration of the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols by the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, a statement of the delegation of Malaysia was summarized by the Committee in its records as follows:
47. [The delegate of Malaysia] said that … Israel, as the [O]ccupying Power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, had failed to ensure that the people of Palestine lived a life free of misery, by blatantly disregarding international law, including the [1949] Geneva Conventions and many resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council.
48. The international community must do more than merely deplore and condemn those actions; it must take all means available to put pressure on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the [1977] Additional Protocols thereto. 
Malaysia, Statement by the delegation of Malaysia before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflict, 22 October 2012, as published in the summary record of the 15th meeting, 24 December 2012, UN Doc. A/C.6/67/SR.15, §§ 47–48.
The Committee also recorded the following statement of Malaysia:
[The delegate of Malaysia said that] … Respect of and adherence to international humanitarian law could only be achieved if the principles and practices of international humanitarian law were upheld by the international community. 
Malaysia, Statement by the delegation of Malaysia before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflict, 22 October 2012, as published in the summary record of the 15th meeting, 24 December 2012, UN Doc. A/C.6/67/SR.15, § 50.
Mexico
In 2009, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Mexico’s permanent representative stated:
The recent crisis in Gaza has shown once again that weapons will not solve the conflict. Only a few weeks after the partial cessation of hostilities, we note with concern that rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel, the most recent of which took place yesterday in Ashkelon, have continued, as have air incursions by the Israel Defense Forces into Gaza. My delegation condemns these acts of violence and once again urges all stakeholders to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law at all times.
My delegation is concerned by the fact that humanitarian work continues to be hindered, in particular in terms of access for humanitarian assistance and materials for rebuilding Gaza. In some cases, we see actions that are clear violations of international humanitarian law. Here, we recall the importance of implementing the provisions of resolution 1502 (2003) regarding the obligation of all parties involved in an armed conflict to comply fully with the rules and principles of international law applicable to them related to the protection of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and its associated personnel, in particular international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law. 
Mexico, Statement by the permanent representative of Mexico before the UN Security Council, 6100th meeting, UN Doc. S/PV.6100, 26 March 2009, pp. 25–26.
Mexico
In 2009, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Mexico’s permanent representative stated:
With regard to the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, we encouraged the Government’s efforts to protect civilians and persons displaced by the conflict. We also called on the parties to always respect international humanitarian law. Furthermore, we repeatedly called on the Government to coordinate its efforts with those of the United Nations agencies in order to evacuate the people trapped by the conflict, as well as to ensure the best possible accommodation and conditions for displaced persons in dignified and safe facilities in which they could receive basic humanitarian assistance, including appropriate care in hospitals. …
With regard to the situation in the Middle East, we have underscored that all parties should constantly abide by the provisions of international humanitarian law, honour their international obligations and avoid actions that may put civilians in danger. …
To conclude, Mexico reiterates the urgent need for all parties to conflict to put an end to flagrant violations against civilian populations. It is essential that the international community focus its attention on … the promotion of a culture of respect for the principles and norms that enshrine the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the eradication of impunity. 
Mexico, Statement by the permanent representative of Mexico before the UN Security Council, 6151th meeting, UN Doc. S/PV.6151, 26 June 2009, pp. 9–11.
Mexico
In 2009, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of women, peace and security, the permanent representative of Mexico stated that “we wish to reiterate … the primary obligation of all parties to an armed conflict to respect and to enforce at all times international humanitarian law, which grants special protection to women and children.” 
Mexico, Statement by the permanent representative of Mexico before the UN Security Council, 6195th meeting, UN Doc. S/PV.6195, 30 September 2009, p. 7.
Mexico
In 2009, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Mexico stated:
International humanitarian law must be complied with, regardless of the type of armed conflict in question. The four Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols and other instruments of international humanitarian law, as well as customary international law, form a solid foundation of principles and norms that protect the life and dignity of all those who no longer participate in hostilities or who never have. We call on those States that have not yet done so to accede to all international instruments in the area of international humanitarian law, and on the parties to conflicts to comply with their international obligations. We know very well that the obligation to respect international humanitarian law cannot be fulfilled without due implementation, at the national level, of these international obligations. This is why we would also urge States to incorporate these standards and principles in their national legislation and practices. 
Mexico, Statement by the permanent representative of Mexico before the UN Security Council, 6216th meeting, UN Doc. S/PV.6216, 11 November 2009, p. 28.
Mexico
In 2010, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, the permanent representative of Mexico stated:
The Gaza blockade fosters the illicit trafficking of materials, fuel and food and opens the door to the illicit trafficking of weapons, endangering the security of the entire region. Proof of that has been the increase of rocket attacks against the Israeli civilian population, which in turn have led to new military responses, in a vicious circle. We condemn those acts of violence, especially those targeting civilian populations, and we once again urge all actors to respect at all times the provisions of international humanitarian law.
We are particularly concerned about a renewed spiral of violence that could have devastating effects on civilian populations. The international community should do all that it can to stop that as soon as possible. We therefore emphasize the need to establish an international monitoring mechanism that insures a lasting ceasefire, the opening of border crossings and the control of illicit arms trafficking. We support all initiatives aimed at establishing such a mechanism, including that suggested by the Secretary-General. We await the next report from the Secretary-General regarding violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights committed during the Gaza conflict. 
Mexico, Statement by the permanent representative of Mexico before the UN Security Council, 6165th meeting, UN Doc. S/PV.6165, 27 January 2010, p. 22.
Mexico
In 2010, during a special session on international humanitarian law of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS), the representative of Mexico stated:
Mexico’s commitment to ensuring respect for IHL also manifests itself in multilateral forums. As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and president of its working group on children and armed conflict, Mexico proposed and initiated last August the adoption of [UN Security Council] resolution 1882 which substantially strengthens the protection of children as particularly vulnerable persons in situations of armed conflict.
We believe … that concrete action is necessary to ensure full compliance with the humanitarian norms by all parties to a conflict. Such action may take different forms, including undoubtedly the harmonization of national legislation in conformity with international standards. Cooperation and exchange of experiences [between States], which we seek to achieve in these sessions, the support of regional organisations such as the OAS and its various organs as well as the advice which the ICRC offers are also crucial actions to further this objective. 
Mexico, Statement by the delegation of Mexico during the special session on international humanitarian law of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Organization of American States, Washington D.C., 29 January 2010.
Mexico
In 2010, during a debate in the UN Security Council on children in armed conflict, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs stated:
Mexico will continue to guide the work of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict inclusively and with determination and transparency until the end of its mandate as non-permanent member of the Security Council.
We would like to focus on five aspects … [including] ensuring that our recommendations promote full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights by all parties to the conflict. 
Mexico, Statement by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico before the UN Security Council, 6341th meeting, UN Doc. S/PV.6341, 16 June 2010, p. 13.
Australia, Canada and New Zealand condemn the ongoing grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur, Sudan, which are having a huge impact on the civilian population in that part of the country … We call on the Government of Sudan to acknowledge these violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and for it and all parties to the conflict in Darfur to take the necessary measures to halt the atrocities being committed against the civilian population and to respect their international legal obligations. 
New Zealand, Statement by the representative of Canada to the UN Commission on Human Rights on the Human Rights Situation in Sudan made on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 2005, p. 1.
Norway
In 2008, in a statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the representative of Sweden stated:
States have a duty to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. With universal recognition of the [1949] Geneva Conventions, ensuring respect becomes a common goal for all states in the world. Joint efforts to promote and improve compliance with the Geneva Conventions are needed and must remain a priority. 
Norway, Statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly by the representative of Sweden made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on “Item 76: Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts”, 23 October 2008.
The representative of Sweden further stated: “We call upon all states and entities to respect the existing body of international humanitarian law” 
Norway, Statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly by the representative of Sweden made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on “Item 76: Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts”, 23 October 2008.
Norway
In 2009, in a statement announcing his decision to exclude the company Elbit Systems Ltd. from the Government Pension Fund (Global) – a decision based on a finding by the Council on Ethics that investment in Elbit would constitute “an unacceptable risk of contribution to serious violations of fundamental ethical norms as a result of the company’s integral involvement in Israel’s construction of a separation barrier on occupied territory” – Norway’s Finance Minister stated: “We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law.” 
Norway, Statement by the Finance Minister announcing his decision to exclude the company Elbit Systems Ltd. from the Government Pension Fund (Global), 3 September 2009.
Norway
In 2010, in a statement announcing his decision to exclude inter alia two Israeli companies from the Government Pension Fund (Global) – a decision based on a finding by the Council on Ethics that the construction of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory was in contravention of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV – Norway’s Finance Minister stated:
The Council on Ethics bases its recommendation on the fact that the international community is united in the view that the area east of the 1967 line is occupied territory and as such comes under the purview of the fourth Geneva Convention. Several United Nations Security Council resolutions and an International Court of Justice advisory opinion have concluded that the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory is prohibited under this Convention. I have therefore accepted the recommendation of the Council on Ethics and am excluding Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus from the fund’s investment portfolio. 
Norway, Statement by the Finance Minister announcing his decision to exclude inter alia two Israeli companies from the Government Pension Fund (Global), 23 August 2010.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Norway, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
The situation in the world today clearly shows that the protection of victims of armed conflict must improve. The legal framework exists, but lack of respect for the agreed rules and principles remains a challenge that has to be addressed. In this regards we welcome the ongoing discussions on a number of topics on how to improve the situation for victims of armed conflict. The Nordic countries in particular welcome the initiative by Switzerland in cooperation with the ICRC on enhancing and ensuring the effectiveness of mechanisms of compliance.
Let me conclude by recalling that all states have a duty to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. Joint efforts to promote and improve compliance with the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are still needed and must remain a priority. 
Norway, Statement by the Counsellor and Legal Advisor of Sweden for the Sixth Committee on the protection of victims of armed conflict made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 20 October 2014.
Oman
In 1980, during a debate in the Special Political Committee of the UN General Assembly on Israeli practices in the occupied territories, Oman stated that the obligations imposed by Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV on all State parties involved “collective action to ensure adherence to the Convention, non-recognition of measures taken in contravention of its provisions and refraining from offering any aid to the occupying Power which might encourage it in its obstinacy”. 
Oman, Statement before the Special Political Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/SPC/35/SR.27, 11 November 1980, § 4.
Oman
Upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, Oman declared:
While deposing these instruments, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman declares that these accessions shall in no way amount to recognition of nor the establishment of any relations with Israel with respect to the application of the provisions of the said protocols. 
Oman, Declaration made upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, 29 March 1984.
Russian Federation
In 2008, in a statement before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation stated:
Another source of considerable concern is the activity of private guard enterprises, which often grossly violate the rights of civilians. First and foremost, we are speaking here of the behaviour of such companies in Iraq that have caused injuries to and deaths of civilians, including women and children. It should be emphasized that under international law the responsibility for the actions of such groups in many cases is borne by the States that hire them. 
Russian Federation, Statement by the permanent representative of the Russian Federation at a UN Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 5898th meeting, 27 May 2008.
Russian Federation
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation stated:
Despite the existence of a host of international legal instruments and normative mechanisms, entirely innocent civilians continue to suffer in conflict situations, including women, children and older persons and humanitarian personnel providing assistance to them. We are convinced that, in order to address the situation, we must abandon selective approaches to violations of international humanitarian law. …
The protection of civilians is a top priority for the Governments of States involved in conflict, but the responsibility to provide for the safety and security of civilians is borne by all parties to an armed conflict. In order to resolve such situations, the international community must effectively seek scrupulous compliance by all parties with the norms of international humanitarian law and the relevant decisions of the Security Council. 
Russian Federation, Statement by the permanent representative of the Russian Federation at a UN Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 6066th meeting, 14 January 2009.
Russian Federation
In 2010, in a statement before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation stated:
I would emphasize that only steadfast compliance by all parties with the norms of international humanitarian law and Security Council decisions, as well as the rejection of selective and unilateral approaches in interpreting violations, can promote improvements in conflict situations and strengthen genuine protection for civilians in armed conflicts. 
Russian Federation, Statement by the permanent representative of the Russian Federation at a UN Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 6354th meeting, 7 July 2010.
Rwanda
In 2010, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Rwanda stated:
Measures taken to prevent that a member of the armed forces who has not attained the age of 18 years is deployed or maintained in a region where conflicts are taking place, and obstacles met in the application of these measures
… Beyond the national territory, Rwandan children involved in armed conflicts in neighbouring countries, in particular in DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], have been disarmed and demobilized and are hence repatriated to be reintegrated into the society. The Government uses intensive diplomatic measures both at the national level and international level so that children held hostages are identified and repatriated. 
Rwanda, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 6 December 2011, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/RWA/1, submitted 20 January 2010, § 73.
As a result of the experience of Rwanda, we feel a moral obligation to participate as vigorously as possible in activities, such as United Nations peacekeeping operations, that increase protection for civilians in armed conflict. We also take very seriously all efforts, such as that in which we are engaged today, to strengthen international norms to reduce tolerance for such crimes. 
Rwanda, Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Rwanda before the UN Security Council during a meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, UN Doc. S/PV.6917, 12 February 2013, p. 9.
Although it may sometimes seem like we are repeating ourselves, the cumulative effect is dramatic. We believe that with each repetition, the consensus on the issue of the protection of civilians grows stronger, and our language becomes clear and loud to the perpetrators of violations and abuses against civilian populations that they will be held accountable.
With such optimism, the disparity between our well-intentioned discussions in the Council and the effects of armed conflicts on civilian populations calls for more action by the Security Council. There is certainly a clear need to translate formative commitments into concrete improvements in the protection of civilians on the ground.
In the Great Lakes region, for example, we unfortunately still have armed conflicts and roaming predators against the civilian population. The negative forces and other military groups, such as the Rwanda Defence Force, a genocidal force that consists of perpetrators of the 1994 genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda, continues to spread its genocidal ideological poison, not just in our neighbourhood but also through a worldwide network. Other groups, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and uncontrolled Séléka Coalition elements, continue to traumatize the population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.
Those forces use civilians as human shields, abduct and maim, forcefully recruit children and continue to carry out sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. Such genocidal ideologies and inhuman acts should not be accommodated anywhere in the world. …
Sweden
In 2005, in an answer to a question in the Parliament regarding the parliamentary election in Chechnya, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated: “Russia must respect human rights, international humanitarian law and the commitments it has made in the Council of Europe, in the UN, in the OSCE and to the EU.” 
Sweden, Answer by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to a Parliamentary interpellation regarding the parliamentary election in Chechnya, 13 26 January 2005, Parliamentary Protocol 2005/06:62, § 3, Anf. 8.
The use of chemical weapons is forbidden according to international law. Sweden is actively working against the use of chemical weapons in international contexts … Sweden will continue to promote global adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, monitor data on the use of chemical weapons in Burma and continue to observe … development[s] in Burma and work for sustainable peace. 
Sweden, Answer by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to written question 2011/12:271 in Parliament regarding attacks using chemical weapons against minority groups in Burma, 16 January 2012.
The situation in the world today clearly shows that the protection of victims of armed conflict must improve. The legal framework exists, but lack of respect for the agreed rules and principles remains a challenge that has to be addressed. In this regards we welcome the ongoing discussions on a number of topics on how to improve the situation for victims of armed conflict. The Nordic countries in particular welcome the initiative by Switzerland in cooperation with the ICRC on enhancing and ensuring the effectiveness of mechanisms of compliance.
Let me conclude by recalling that all states have a duty to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. Joint efforts to promote and improve compliance with the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are still needed and must remain a priority.  
Sweden, Statement by the Counsellor and Legal Advisor of Sweden for the Sixth Committee on the protection of victims of armed conflict made on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 20 October 2014.
Reports from Iraq and Syria show gross, systematic and large-scale abuse of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. Murder, torture and rape occur in large scale and minority groups and women and children are particularly exposed. The government has in the strongest terms condemned ISIL and their brutal acts. 
Sweden, Answer by the Minister for International Development Cooperation to written question 2014/15:31 in Parliament regarding the humanitarian situation for the victims of IS, 29 October 2014.
Switzerland
In 2005, in a report in response to a parliamentary postulate on private security and military companies, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
5.3.3 Obligations of the state with regard to private security companies
Common Article 1 of the four Geneva Conventions states that the States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present convention under all circumstances. This means that the States Parties must see to it that all state players respect international humanitarian law. Moreover the contracting states have the duty to ensure that third parties, whether they are other states or private entities, also observe international humanitarian law. States cannot escape their obligations under international humanitarian law by placing certain tasks in the hands of private companies. In fact they have to ensure even more that the private security companies which they deploy in conflict situations, which are based in their state or which are operational on their territory, respect international humanitarian law. In addition, the contracting states are obliged to prosecute especially in cases of serious breaches of the Geneva Conventions regardless of where the act took place or the nationality of the perpetrator.
5.6 Switzerland’s obligations under international law and its role as a contracting party and depositary of the Geneva Conventions
As a contracting party to the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland has the duty to respect and “to ensure respect for the Conventions”. This involves the duty to see to it that the Geneva Conventions are observed by other states and individuals, including any Swiss-based private security companies active in conflict situations. This applies all [the] more so if Switzerland has itself mandated security companies to carry out certain tasks in conflict situations.
Switzerland is also active on a regular basis at the international level in promoting systematic compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Possible international initiatives that Switzerland could take are treated in the final part of this report …
6.2.2 Possible international role for Switzerland
The issue of private security companies operating in international crisis and conflict areas has become particularly acute since the 1990s. With the recent war in Iraq, and particularly events of this past year, the Swiss people and their parliament have also become increasingly aware of the subject. In the summer of 2004 the DFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] expressed Switzerland’s concern regarding the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison (in Iraq) to representatives of the United Kingdom and the US. Employees of private security companies had been among those participating in those human rights violations.
That same year, then, the Swiss federal administration began increasingly to consider the appropriateness and potential of international, binational and supranational initiatives.
Switzerland is cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in this international process, having already drafted with that organisation common guidelines for intergovernmental initiatives. The first meetings with selected experts took place during the summer of 2005, and consultations with targeted individual states were held in autumn 2005. A conference of government experts is planned for 2006.
6.3 List of measures proposed by the Federal Council
The Federal Council intends to take the following steps:
5. The Federal Council, as far as possible in cooperation with the ICRC, wishes to initiate an international process aimed at contributing to an intergovernmental discussion, enhancing and clarifying the obligations under international law on the part of states and other actors, and studying regulatory models on the national, regional and international levels. 
Switzerland, Report by the Swiss Federal Council on Private Security and Military Companies, 2 December 2005, Sections 5.3.3, 5.6, 6.22 and 6.3, pp. 46, 50–51, 57–59.
[footnote in original omitted; emphasis in original]
Switzerland
In 2007, in its Mine Action Strategy of the Swiss Confederation for the Period 2008 to 2011, Switzerland stated:
4.4. Political and operational objectives:
The Federal Government has set itself the following political and operational objectives …
3. Strengthening the protection of the civilian population against the humanitarian consequences of anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war:
- Participation in conferences and international processes aimed at optimum implementation of existing international humanitarian law, and, where necessary, the formulation of new standards. 
Switzerland, Mine Action Strategy 2008 to 2011, 31 December 2007, Part 4.4(3).
Switzerland
In 2008, in its response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council wrote:
3. As depository state and contracting party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions, Switzerland wishes to underline the importance of respect for international humanitarian law by all the parties to the conflict, whether this concerns state armed forces, armed groups or individuals. Its call to respect international norms is thus addressed to all the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel has the right and the duty to protect its territory and population against attacks. However, as a party to the conflict, it is bound by the obligations emanating from international humanitarian law. Furthermore, disrespect of the rules of international humanitarian law by one party to the conflict cannot legitimize violations of the law by the other party. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Interpellation No. 08.3127, 14 May 2008, pp. 1–2.
Switzerland
In 2008, in its response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council wrote:
The Federal Council follows the situation in the Middle-East with interest and has, on several occasions, called upon the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and the protection of the civilian population anchored in it. On 29 February 2008, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs once again called upon the parties to respect international law and to exercise the utmost restraint.
5. … Furthermore, the Israeli side was perfectly aware that this visit [by the commander of the Swiss Air force to the commander of the Israeli Air force] did not in any way imply approval of any military actions. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Question No. 08.1003, 30 May 2008, pp. 1–2.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Strategy (2009) states:
2. Why does the FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] Need a Strategy on Civilian Protection?
The protection of civilians in armed conflict is firmly anchored in Swiss legislation and is a central component of Switzerland’s foreign policy:
- The promotion and defence of international law is one of the central pillars of Switzerland’s foreign policy.
- Its dual function as depositary and high contracting party to the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols confers on Switzerland a unique legitimacy in its efforts to ensure respect for international humanitarian law.
4. Switzerland’s Response
Furthermore, Switzerland has made respect for international law, as well as its … implementation permanent features of its foreign policy. It demands strict compliance with international humanitarian law and intervenes in certain conflicts at the bilateral and multilateral levels. It frequently calls on States to ratify the relevant treaties and to incorporate them into their national legislation. … And in the fight against impunity, Switzerland supports mechanisms for monitoring and implementing international law, as well as international criminal justice and transitional justice.
… In situations of armed conflict Switzerland maintains contact with the parties to the conflict and takes steps to remind them of the obligation to respect the rules of international humanitarian law. …
Either on its own or with the support of partners, Switzerland is able to raise public awareness, provide public testimony, draw the attention of the authorities and remind all concerned of the obligation to respect and ensure respect for humanitarian principles and the rules of international humanitarian law.
5. Strategic Choices
The FDFA has thus defined three strategic objectives with corresponding specific outcomes for the next four years:
- The normative framework ensuring the protection of civilians in armed conflict is adequate, known and respected by all parties involved
- The involved parties, in particular non-state actors, comply with the normative framework and respect their obligations. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Strategy, 2009, pp. 5, 11–13, 15; see also pp. 18–19.
[emphasis in original]
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Dissemination
Respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law is one of the most important obligations of the States Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. …
United Nations (UN)
… The Geneva Conventions and their First Additional Protocol require States Parties to take measures against serious violations of the Conventions or the Protocol in collaboration with the United Nations and in accordance with the UN Charter. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 16 and 39.
Switzerland
In 2009, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
The current situation in Gaza cries out to us the importance of the issue we are discussing today. The main victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are civilians. … In this context, we must stress how important it is that the provisions of international law, in particular those of international humanitarian law, do not remain empty words but that they are effectively implemented on the ground to ensure the maximum protection of the civilian population. …
Switzerland therefore reiterates its call for … strict compliance with international law by all parties to the conflict. This includes in particular the obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. …
We welcome the appeal of the Security Council in its resolution 1860 of 8 January for an immediate ceasefire and for the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza. … However, we are disappointed that the resolution makes no mention of the importance of respect for international humanitarian law. It is to be deeply regretted that this body of law – and therefore the references to the [1949] Geneva Conventions – have become the object of negotiation and political discretion. It is by insisting on the strict application of international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict that the Council will achieve better protection of civilians. The Security Council underlined itself in its Presidential Statement of 27 May 2008 the importance of safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to provide assistance to civilians in armed conflict in accordance with international law. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 14 January 2009, pp. 5–6.
Switzerland
In 2009, in response to a motion before the Council of States by the Commission on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
The humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka is of the highest concern to the Federal Council. It deplores the violations of international humanitarian law, in particular the undifferentiated and disproportional recourse to violence that has killed and wounded thousands of persons in the north of the country. …
Switzerland’s bilateral and multilateral engagement
Considering the dramatic situation, Switzerland has already reacted through different diplomatic instruments.
- It undertook several confidential representations to … Sri Lanka …
- On 5 February 2009, the FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] issued a humanitarian appeal to the government of Sri Lanka and to the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]. This appeal was [the] subject of a press release and was reiterated and further developed on 21 April 2009.
- On 11 February 2009, representatives of the FDFA met with the secretary of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Human Rights in Bern; the secretary also met with members of the Commission on Foreign Policy of the National Council.
- On 17 March 2009, Switzerland made a declaration at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva. On 29 April, it mentioned the situation of Sri Lanka in the United Nations Security Council during a debate on children in armed conflict.
Humanitarian aid
The Federal Council considers that what is most urgent is to ensure respect of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, the protection of the civilian population and the rapid access of humanitarian organizations, without restriction. 
Switzerland, Council of States, Response by the Federal Council to Motion No. 09.3358, 13 May 2009, pp. 1–2.
Switzerland
In 2009, in response to a postulate before the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
The Federal Council has, on several occasions during and after the cessation of hostilities in the north of Sri Lanka, launched an urgent appeal to the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law. It has notably reminded the authorities of Sri Lanka of their responsibilities to carry out inquiries concerning allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law and to bring to justice persons suspected of having committed violations of international law. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Postulate No. 09.3472, 19 August 2009, p. 1.
Switzerland
In 2009, in response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Bilaterally, Switzerland has manifested on several occasions its engagement in favour of international humanitarian law: it launched humanitarian appeals on 5 February and 21 April 2009, undertook several diplomatic démarches and pleaded for this cause during its meetings with representatives of the government of Sri Lanka. …
Multilaterally, Switzerland worked towards the convocation of the special session of the Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka, which took place in Geneva on 26 and 27 May 2009. Unfortunately, Switzerland did not manage to achieve [the adoption of] its proposals for the reinforcement of protection measures nor its call to prosecute and repress violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law. … In the framework of the 11th session of the Human Rights Council on 5 June 2009, Switzerland reaffirmed its concerns and recalled the promises made by Sri Lanka.
Humanitarian aid
The Federal Council considers that what is most urgent is to ensure the protection of the civilian population, in particular of evacuated victims of war and internally displaced [persons]. This is why Switzerland is actively engaged on the ground in ensuring that international aid organizations have access, without restriction, to these persons, that these persons have adequate support through the supply of food, medication and emergency shelter, and that they can return as quickly as possible to their region of origin, in safety and dignity. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Question No. 09.1059, 19 August 2009, pp. 1–2.
Switzerland
In 2009, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
3.3.6.2 Activities of Switzerland
… Switzerland makes clear that the search for peace works via respect for the norms and principles of international law (human rights, international humanitarian law and international criminal law) and that this is not negotiable.
… In 2008, as in previous years, [Switzerland] actively contributed to the development of diplomatic initiatives in multilateral fora in order to promote peace, respect for human rights and humanitarian law and dialogue on migration. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.6.2, pp. 5796 and 5802; see also Section 3.2.2.3.4, p. 5738.
The Federal Council also stated:
Conflicts … have themselves become more complex. … In this context, two key challenges arise: ensuring that States and non-state armed actors respect the existing normative frameworks and providing operational responses adapted to the needs of civilians in the field.
In the sphere of humanitarian policy, 2008 was a year characterized by the effort to reinforce the efficiency and coherence of Switzerland’s action towards the civilian population. In this regard, a FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] Strategy for the protection of civilians in armed conflict (2009 to 2012) was elaborated. …
In 2009 and for the next four years, the FDFA will seek to implement the main guiding principles of this strategy with a focus on three main subjects: the clarification, strengthening and respect of the normative framework granting protection to civilians in armed conflicts (through expert meetings on the challenges to international humanitarian law and the strengthening of mechanisms for monitoring and implementing this framework); the improvement of the operational response in favour of the protection of civilians in armed conflict (notably the protection of particularly vulnerable civilians, humanitarian access, and the safety of operational actors); and finally, the strengthening of its competencies in the protection of civilians.
2009 will also be marked by the finalization of the … Air and Missile Warfare Manual … which seeks to strengthen knowledge and respect of the international law in force. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.7.2, pp. 5807–5808; see also Section 3.3.7.3, pp. 5810–5811.
[emphasis in original]
The Federal Council further stated:
Since 2005, the FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] – through its Directorate of international law – has sought to ensure that private military and security companies [PMSC] better respect international humanitarian law and human rights in areas of conflict. It launched with the ICRC an intergovernmental initiative on the matter. … [T]he Montreux Document on private military and security companies was adopted on [17 September 2008].
The Montreux Document clarifies and reaffirms the obligations imposed by international law on States employing private military and security companies. According to the norms in force, States cannot circumvent [these obligations] by resorting to the use of private companies: they must take the necessary measures to prevent PMSC from violating international humanitarian law and human rights and put in place the necessary enforcement measures; they directly assume the responsibility for the acts of the PMSC they employ.
Other States, international organizations and PMSC are now invited to use the Montreux Document as a reference and to implement the measures proposed by it. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.7.3, pp. 5812–5813.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
Switzerland
In 2010, in response to a motion by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council wrote:
Switzerland is committed to better respect for international humanitarian law. At the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2007 it pledged to take measures to reinforce the implementation of international humanitarian law applicable to journalists. Switzerland engages in multilateral fora, such as the Human Rights Council, and through bilateral representations or press releases to condemn violations of the law committed against journalists.
Recognizing that the implementation, on the ground, of the protection granted to journalists remains largely insufficient, Switzerland welcomes all initiatives aimed at strengthening the application of the existing rules and at improving respect for their obligations by the different parties to an armed conflict. Indeed, Switzerland is convinced that the too-numerous violations of international law committed against journalists are not due to insufficient norms but to a lack of respect for the law by the actors in armed conflicts and those who influence their behaviour. …
The Federal Council considers that the elaboration of a Convention is not an adequate means of improving the protection of journalists. However, consultations with governments and experts, in close collaboration with other States and the ICRC, to identify and clarify the different options available to the international community, including an international meeting on this topic, may prove judicious. In that regard, one can mention that the Human Rights Council has decided to hold a panel discussion on the protection of journalists in time of armed conflicts at its 14th session in June 2010. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Motion No. 10.3040, 12 May 2010, p. 2.
Switzerland
In 2010, in response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
The Federal Council has, on several occasions during and after the cessation of hostilities in the north of Sri Lanka, launched appeals to the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law. It has notably reminded the authorities of Sri Lanka of their responsibilities to carry out inquiries concerning allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law and to bring to justice persons suspected of having committed violations of international law. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Interpellation No. 10.3457, 8 September 2010, p. 2.
Switzerland
In 2010, in its response to a question by a member of the National Council, Switzerland’s Federal Council wrote:
Switzerland endeavours to contribute to the prevention of conflicts and the promotion of peace throughout the world, but particularly in the Middle East. … The positions of Switzerland are based on the protection of the civilian populations, respect for the law, respect for human rights, and in particular respect for international humanitarian law and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Switzerland regularly calls for restraint by all the parties to the conflict and condemns violations of international humanitarian law committed by these. 
Switzerland, National Council, Response by the Federal Council to Interpellation No. 10.3424, 17 September 2010, p.2.
Switzerland
In 2010, in its Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
5 Possible action by Switzerland
The following list offers a glimpse of the initiatives being carried out, or having been recently concluded, that aim to develop or reinforce the content of international humanitarian law:
- in 2006, Switzerland launched in collaboration with the ICRC an international process that led to the adoption by 17 States in September 2008 of the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies. The Montreux Document lists the key rules of international humanitarian law, thus contributing to its reinforcement. Since 2008, 17 other States have adopted it;
6 Conclusion
In response to postulate 08.3445 of 20 June 2008 of the Commission on Foreign Policy of the Council of States, we can conclude …
- Switzerland carries out numerous projects aiming to develop or reinforce the content of international humanitarian law. In addition, it could organize in 2010 a tenth periodic meeting of the State Parties to the [1949] Geneva Conventions focused on implementation and monitoring mechanisms of international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, 17 September 2010, Section 5, p. 25, Section 6, p. 28; see also Section 4.1, pp. 21–24.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Switzerland
In 2010, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Switzerland notes that in the Gaza strip, in particular, the humanitarian situation … of the population … [has] still not received a tangible response. The situation has deteriorated since the recent armed conflict (of December 2008 to January 2009). Switzerland regularly calls upon all the parties, including Israel as [the] occupying power, to respect their obligations. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2010, 10 December 2010, Section 2.5, p. 1025.
The Federal Council also stated:
The Israeli-Arab conflict, the crisis situations in Yemen and Iraq, as well as concerns over Iran will mobilize Switzerland’s attention in the Near and Middle East for the next years …
Its action concentrates as a priority on … respect for international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2010, 10 December 2010, Section 2.5, p. 1028.
The Federal Council also stated in the section on international humanitarian law:
Switzerland has a long tradition, well regarded by the international community, of promoting and developing international humanitarian law. …
It continues to work, for example, to ensure that international humanitarian law systematically applies to private military and security companies, which are more and more being called upon in armed conflicts, and that the obligations have binding force for all the actors concerned. The Montreux Document of 2008 permitted the launch, with the ICRC, of a reference text synthesizing the law in force and suggesting concrete measures that States can take to regulate these private military and security companies. The text is today supported by 34 States. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2010, 10 December 2010, Section 4.2.5, p. 1104.
Switzerland
In 2011, in answer to an interpellation in Parliament, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
3. Due to the special status of Western Sahara, the fundamental and human rights of its population are guaranteed by the UN Charter and international humanitarian law. Switzerland engages in favour of respect for public international law, which supposes notably protection against the exploitation of resources … as well as respect for the guarantees stemming from international humanitarian law to the benefit of the population of Western Sahara. 
Switzerland, Answer by the Federal Council to interpellation 10.3976 in Parliament regarding unrest in Western Sahara, 16 February 2011.
Switzerland
In 2011, in answer to an interpellation in Parliament, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated: “The representatives of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs do not fail to regularly remind the de facto authorities in Gaza of their international obligations, notably as concerns the right of the ICRC to visit the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.” 
Switzerland, Answer by the Federal Council to interpellation 10.3991 in Parliament regarding the right of Gilad Shalit to receive visits from the ICRC, 16 February 2011.
Switzerland
In 2011, Switzerland’s Federal Council issued a communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, which stated:
Security missions, in particular those in conflict areas, are more and more often entrusted to private companies. At the initiative of Switzerland, a great number of private security companies from all over the world adopted, in Geneva in November 2010, an international code of conduct that binds them to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, 29 June 2011, p. 5894.
[emphasis in original]
The communiqué also stated:
As the Depositary State of the [1949] Geneva Conventions, Switzerland was the first State that adopted, in 2009, a strategy for the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. Combining the instruments of diplomacy – operational and legal – of the Confederation, it aims to address a double challenge: on the one hand, to get States and non-State armed groups to respect international law in armed conflicts and situations of armed violence, and on the other, to provide operational responses adapted to the needs of civilians on the ground. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, 29 June 2011, p. 5895.
The communiqué further stated that Switzerland “works for the universal ratification of the [1997 Ottawa] Convention [on Anti-Personnel Mines] and for making the prohibition of anti-personnel mines respected by non-State armed-groups.” 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, 29 June 2011, p. 5905.
The communiqué also stated:
The Confederation works for the clarification of, reinforcement of and respect for the normative framework by all parties to the conflict. For example, it will continue to support the development of tools that aim to improve compliance with the norms by non-state armed groups and to make these tools available to the international community. It will also work for a reinforcement of the mechanisms for the implementation of the law. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, 29 June 2011, pp. 5914–5915.
Switzerland
In 2012, in its Report on Foreign Policy 2011, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
On 9 November 2010, representatives of about sixty private military and security companies signed the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, an initiative launched by Switzerland in cooperation with industry associations and supported by the key government clients. By signing the code, private military and security companies commit to respect, in the context of their activities, the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2011, 18 January 2012, p. 2766.
In the report, the Federal Council also stated:
The main problem and challenge with respect to international humanitarian law thus remains lack of respect for the existing rules by parties to the conflict. It is urgent to find concrete ways and means of ensuring better respect for international humanitarian law. …
Furthermore, Switzerland pursues its commitment to improved respect for international humanitarian law by non-state actors. It therefore works for wide support for the Montreux Document of 2008, a reference document – drafted with the ICRC – which summarizes the existing law and proposes concrete measures States can take to pertinently regulate military and security companies. … On the basis of this document, Switzerland supported the drafting of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2011, 18 January 2012, p. 2772–2773.
[footnote in original omitted]
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport issued the Mine Action Strategy of the Swiss Confederation 2012–2015, which stated:
1. Switzerland will actively contribute to the strengthening, the implementation and universal application of all international legal instruments in this domain, ratified by Switzerland, by
- Providing political leadership in the implementation of the conventions, including a proactive involvement in universalisation and implementation efforts as well as assuming effective official functions and responsibilities.
- Promoting the universal application of the conventions between governments at bilateral and multilateral level as well as by supporting international and non-governmental organisations.
- Providing contributions and political support for activities aimed at facilitating the adherence of non-state armed groups to humanitarian principles and the norms of international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Mine Action Strategy of the Swiss Confederation 2012–2015: Towards a world free of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, February 2012, p. 16.
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Official visit to Bern by the Israeli Foreign Minister”, which stated:
On the basis of its tradition of offering its good offices and promoting international law, Switzerland has been committed for several years to advancing peace and stability in the Near East as well as respect for international humanitarian law through dialogue with all parties. The repeated violations of international humanitarian law by the different parties have made finding a solution to the conflict increasingly difficult. [Switzerland’s Federal Councillor] recalled that Switzerland had regularly appealed to all parties to respect their legal obligations and to enter into serious negotiations with the aim of resolving the conflict and improving the humanitarian situation. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Official visit to Bern by the Israeli Foreign Minister”, Press Release, 24 April 2012.
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Switzerland is concerned about the situation of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike”, which stated:
Switzerland is concerned about the situation of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. … Switzerland takes this opportunity to recall the obligations on States to respect international humanitarian law and human rights, in particular with regard to conditions of detention. …
In keeping with its tradition of offering its good offices and promoting international law, Switzerland has been active in efforts to advance the peace process, respect for international humanitarian law, and stability in the Near East, in particular through dialogue with all parties concerned.
Recurrent violations of international humanitarian law by the different parties have made finding a solution to the conflict increasingly difficult. Switzerland therefore appeals to all parties to meet their obligations[.] 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Switzerland is concerned about the situation of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike”, Press Release, 10 May 2012.
Switzerland
In 2012, in a statement at the 19th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the representative of Switzerland stated: “Switzerland calls on all actors in Syria to immediately put an end to the use of violence and to respect their obligations under international law.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during a debate on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and the recent killings in El-Houleh, 1 June 2012.
Switzerland
In 2012, in a speech on the occasion of Public International Law Day, the head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs stated:
It thus follows logically that Switzerland has made respect for, promotion and implementation of international humanitarian law a constant feature of its foreign policy. [This is] consistent with its obligation as a High Contracting Party [to the 1949 Geneva Conventions] to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law.
When necessary, Switzerland calls on parties to a conflict to respect their obligations stemming from international humanitarian law, as it has done, to date unfortunately without success, in Syria. Furthermore, it engages in concrete situations to improve respect for the law. For example, in the context of Sudan, it has carried out training activities in international humanitarian law. Switzerland also maintains a dialogue on international humanitarian law with different actors in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
To respond to this challenge [the “privatization” of war], Switzerland has launched, jointly with the ICRC, a process aiming to clarify the obligations of States in the area [of privatization of warfare]. This process has led to the Montreux Document, supported to date by 42 States as well as the European Union. This process has allowed to clarify and recall the obligations of States with regard to operations of private military and security companies during armed conflict and to strengthen the protection of civilian population in this context. 
Switzerland, Speech by the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of Public International Law Day, 19 October 2012.
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “The use of cluster munitions in Syria – FDFA Statement”, which stated:
Switzerland is extremely concerned about the many allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), and appeals to all parties [to] the conflict to ensure full compliance with their obligations. It is a matter of urgency that acts of violence and violations of IHL cease, and that humanitarian actors can gain access to the civilian population, which is exposed to the full impact of this prolonged armed conflict. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “The use of cluster munitions in Syria – FDFA Statement”, Press Release, 24 October 2012.
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Official visit by the Palestinian President”, which stated:
During the meeting, the Head of the FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] expressed his deep concern at the escalation of violence throughout the region. It is crucial that all measures of precaution be taken so as to spare the civilian population from the effects of the hostilities being conducted in one of the most densely populated zones in the world. He emphasized that Switzerland calls upon all of the parties to exercise a maximum of restraint, and strongly condemns the violations of international law perpetrated by all of the parties.
Generally speaking, on the basis of its tradition of offering its good offices and promoting international law, Switzerland has been committed for several years to advancing peace and stability in the Near East, as well as respect for international humanitarian law through dialogue with all parties. The repeated violations of international humanitarian law by the different parties have made finding a solution to the conflict increasingly difficult. Switzerland regularly appeals to all parties to respect their legal obligations and to enter into serious negotiations with the aim of resolving the conflict and improving the humanitarian situation. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. “Official visit by the Palestinian President”, Press Release, 15 November 2012.
Switzerland
In 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Appeal by the Swiss authorities for compliance with international humanitarian law in Syria”, which stated:
Deep concern about the humanitarian situation
1. As a High-Contracting Party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions and their [1977] Additional Protocols, Switzerland is committed to respect and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law.
3. It reminds the Syrian authorities that they have the primary responsibility to protect the civilian population.
International humanitarian law is applicable to non-international armed conflict.
4. International humanitarian law is applicable in non-international armed conflicts. All parties to the conflict are therefore obliged to respect its rules in all circumstances, including the rules protecting persons who are [not] or are no [longer] participating in the hostilities, as well as the rules relative to the means and methods of warfare.
Appeal to respect international rules
6. Switzerland calls on all parties to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstances and to take the necessary measures to prevent and stop violations of international humanitarian law.
7. It recalls that in the conduct of military operations, all feasible precautions must be taken with a view to avoid incidental loss of civilian life injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects and collateral damage to civilian property. All parties are subject to the obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. Moreover, international humanitarian law proscribes the act of spreading terror among the civilian population.
9. Switzerland appeals to all parties to the conflict to ensure rapid and unimped[ed] humanitarian access to populations in need. Moreover, the parties are subject to the obligation to respect and protect at all times fixed establishments and mobile medical units as well as all humanitarian actors.
10. Switzerland reminds the Syrian authorities of their responsibility to investigate all allegations of violations and to bring to justice alleged perpetrators of international law, in particular those suspected of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.
11. Switzerland reiterates its condemnation of the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster weapons against civilian populations, and appeals to all parties to the conflict to renounce the use of such weapons, which have indiscriminate and serious long-term consequences. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Appeal by the Swiss authorities for compliance with international humanitarian law in Syria”, Press Release, 15 November 2012.
Switzerland
In 2013, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued the “Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts”, which states:
Introduction
… When a state is no longer willing or able to fulfil its obligation to protect the civilian population, the international community has a subsidiary responsibility. International humanitarian law requires compliance from all states involved in an armed conflict and also stipulates that third states have an obligation to intervene to enforce compliance. The other parties to the armed conflict, in particular non-state armed groups, also have a responsibility to take steps to ensure that the civilian population is adequately protected. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, 2013, p. 7.
The Strategy also states:
Switzerland is both the Depositary State and High Contracting Party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. This dual capacity confers particular legitimacy on the Swiss Confederation in activities favouring compliance with international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, 2013, p. 8.
The Strategy further states:
While the normative framework for the protection of civilians is largely adequate, certain obligations are formulated in general terms and new practices and technologies create challenges that are not directly addressed in current legislation. In most cases, the response comes in the form of clarification or reaffirmation of existing obligations in certain areas. This is the case, for instance, of the initiative that gave rise to the “The Montreux Document on pertinent international legal obligations and good practices for States related to operations of private military and security companies during armed conflict.” Such clarifications or reaffirmations are essential in ensuring compliance with the normative framework. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, 2013, p. 12.
The Strategy further states:
Whenever allegations of violations are made in relation to a given conflict, several instruments and mechanisms are applied to not only bring these violations to a halt but also to document them so that cases may be prosecuted later on; possible areas of action for Switzerland include interventions within various multilateral fora, the creation of commissions of inquiry, contacts with other states as well as sanctions. In some cases, Switzerland may also do advocacy work in favour of the protection of civilians within the context of its peace promotion activities.
- Where necessary, Switzerland will work with the states involved in an armed conflict or with multilateral institutions so that they may act in a manner that is compliant with the normative framework.
- Switzerland will support general conditions that help to prevent violations and encourage compliance with the law, in particular by working with the authorities and other local actors[.] 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, 2013, pp. 14–15.
Switzerland
In 2013, in its Report on Foreign Policy 2012, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Private military and security companies: Switzerland remains actively engaged in the work for better respect for international humanitarian law by non-State actors … To this end, it works towards wide support for the Montreux Document of 2008 as text of reference. Drafted with the ICRC and to date supported by 43 States, the document synthesizes the law in force and suggests concrete measures States can take to regulate military and security companies in a pertinent manner. The Montreux Document is closely linked to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2012, 9 January 2013, p. 950.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Switzerland’s chargé d’affaires a.i. stated:
Further, we would like to share our deep concern about the ever-worsening situation with regard to humanitarian access in Syria. … It is also extremely worrying that the safety of humanitarian workers is not guaranteed. We therefore urge all parties to respect their obligations and to grant rapid and unimpeded access to civilians in need.
Non-state armed groups constitute a particular challenge with regard to compliance in most modern conflicts. There is a need to find a way to make sure these groups comply with their obligations and allow humanitarian access to populations in need of assistance. 
Switzerland, Statement by the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 12 February 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council, the representative of Switzerland stated:
Switzerland thanks the High Commissioner for the report on the situation of human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. … Respect by all parties for the obligations of international humanitarian law and human rights law constitutes by itself a significant contribution to the quest for peace. For this reason we reiterate our call on each party to strictly respect its respective and specific obligations. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during a debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, 18 March 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the 23rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the representative of Switzerland stated:
Switzerland condemns in the strongest terms … the violations of international humanitarian law … It thus calls on all actors in Syria to immediately put an end to the use of violence and to respect their international obligations, in particular those relating to the protection of civilians. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during a debate on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent killings in Al-Qusayr, 29 May 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Situation in the Syrian city of Al-Kusair – Statement of the FDFA”, which stated: “The FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] appeals again to all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international law and take all measures to protect the civilian population as well as all people who are not involved in the fighting.” 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Situation in the Syrian city of Al-Kusair – Statement of the FDFA”, Press Release, 3 June 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013 in a statement during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria before the 23rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the representative of Switzerland stated: “Switzerland calls on all actors in Syria to immediately put an end to the use of violence and to respect their international obligations. We condemn in the strongest terms all … violations of international humanitarian law committed in Syria.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, 4 June 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on children and armed conflict, made on behalf of the Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, including Switzerland, the permanent representative of Canada stated:
The Friends further urge relevant Member States to allow for dialogue between the United Nations and non-state actors to influence them to cease violations against children and conclude and implement action plans to this end …
The Friends reiterate… [their] call for the [UN Security] Council to ensure that grave violations against children trigger the imposition of sanctions in all relevant sanctions committees[.]  
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Canada during a UN Security Council debate on children and armed conflict, made on behalf of the Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, namely Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania and Uruguay, 17 June 2013, pp. 1–2.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Switzerland’s chargé d’affaires a.i. stated: “We remain most concerned by reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Syria. We call on all parties to fully adhere to their obligations and to end the violence”. 
Switzerland, Statement by the chargé d’affaires a.i. of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 19 August 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “The FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] welcomes the latest international developments in the Syrian crisis”, which stated:
Switzerland reiterates its call to all parties to accept their responsibility … to protect the civilian population in conformity with the provisions of international humanitarian law.
Switzerland strongly condemns the serious violations of international humanitarian law, regardless of the perpetrator. The alleged use of chemical weapons is especially alarming. … It is important to prevent any further such violations and not to allow serious crimes to go unpunished, regardless of the alleged perpetrator. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs welcomes the latest international developments in the Syrian crisis”, Press Release, 10 September 2013.
[emphasis in original]
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement at the Fourth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the representative of Switzerland stated:
The Convention on Cluster Munitions is a relatively recent instrument of international law. Yet, it is already having a tremendous impact on the way the world perceives the use and production of cluster munitions. Although the convention is not yet universally ratified, the last few years showed that we move towards a stigmatisation of these weapons.
For this reason, we are concerned about continued information that cluster munitions are used in countries not party to the Convention. Switzerland has already and on several occasions ex-pressed its concern about the use of cluster munitions (as well as of antipersonnel mines) by the various parties to the conflict in Syria. We call upon all the parties to the conflict to respect the basic norms of international humanitarian law and to refrain from using weapons with indiscriminate effect such as cluster munitions (This call also extends to the use of antipersonnel mines). 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 13 September 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013 in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated:
My delegation condemns in the strongest terms the violations … of international humanitarian law that continue to be perpetrated in Syria with total impunity.
Switzerland condemns in the strongest terms deliberate attacks against medical and humanitarian personnel as well as medical installations, which, let us recall, are protected under international humanitarian law. Switzerland demands once more that all parties respect the rules of international humanitarian law. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 16 September 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated:
Switzerland is very concerned by the nature and extent of the violations of … humanitarian law [in Syria] described in the report. … In view of the grave circumstances, Switzerland calls on all parties to the conflict to respect the principles of international humanitarian law and to facilitate thus access to vulnerable persons. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 16 September 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement at the High-Level Segment of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme on Solidarity and Burden-Sharing with Countries hosting Syrian Refugees, the ambassador of Switzerland’s stated: “Switzerland calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure that the rules of international humanitarian law are strictly respected.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the ambassador of Switzerland at the High-Level Segment of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme on Solidarity and Burden-Sharing with Countries hosting Syrian Refugees, 30 September 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement at the 64th Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the ambassador of Switzerland stated: “Switzerland calls once again on all parties to the conflict to ensure that the rules of international humanitarian law are strictly respected.” 
Switzerland, Statement by the ambassador of Switzerland at the 64th Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 1 October 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the representative of Switzerland stated:
Switzerland condemns in the strongest terms the deliberate attacks against the civilian population, including medical and humanitarian personnel, as well as against civilian, and especially medical, infrastructure. Such attacks constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law. Switzerland once again calls on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international law. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland before the UN General Assembly during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, 24 October 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a statement at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the permanent representative of Switzerland stated:
Switzerland is deeply concerned by the alleged use of weapons in Syria falling within the ambit of the CCW [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] and its respective protocols, such as the alleged use of anti-personnel mines as well as the alleged use of incendiary weapons in populated areas causing severe human suffering. We call upon all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international law, in particular the principles of distinction, precaution, and proportionality. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 14 November 2013.
Switzerland
In 2013, in a speech delivered at the Montreux+5 Conference, the federal councillor of Switzerland stated:
Mankind has given itself rules to avoid that wars slip into deepest barbarism. The Montreux Document is here to remind us that these rules not only apply to States but also to Private Military and Security Companies. That we have a shared responsibility to uphold the rules established to protect human dignity in armed conflicts.
The monopoly on the use of force entails a responsibility for the States: they have to make sure that private military and security companies respect human rights norms and humanitarian law in armed conflicts.
Because they are present on battlefields, private companies also have a responsibility and a legal obligation to respect humanitarian law and human rights norms. Upholding the basic principles of humanity in armed conflict is a shared responsibility.
… Switzerland is convinced that improving the compliance with the law of armed conflicts is not only a legal obligation but a moral duty. Insufficient protection is due today mainly to the lack of compliance with already existing laws.
A few years back, some critics argued that private military and security companies operate in a legal vacuum. Switzerland wanted to demonstrate that this thesis is wrong: There are rules deriving from international humanitarian law, international human rights law, State responsibility and other sources applicable to all those involved in an armed conflict, including to private contractors.
The Montreux Document does not create new legal obligations. It merely recalls the pertinent international laws, applicable to States, private military and security contractors and their personnel in situations of armed conflicts and identifies good practices.
Regardless of their support for the initiative, States are bound by the international legal obligations contained in the Document, by virtue of their ratification of the Geneva Conventions and other treaties as well as by customary international law.
States have a responsibility to respect and enforce humanitarian law. But it is a responsibility shared, shared with private military and security contractors. 
Switzerland, Speech by the Federal Councillor entitled “Preserving human dignity in armed conflicts: a shared responsibility” at the Montreux+5 Conference, 11 December 2013.
Human rights policy
Diplomatic initiatives: … In February 2013, the text of the governance and oversight mechanism of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers was successfully negotiated. In September 2013, an ad hoc association bringing together the private security companies having adopted the Code, as well as NGOs and governments, was established in Switzerland. The objective of this mechanism is to ensure that companies which have adopted the Code fulfil their commitments in terms of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law …
International humanitarian law
The 150th anniversary of the ICRC in 2013 was marked by numerous events in Switzerland and abroad. Switzerland made the most of this opportunity to underline its commitment to international humanitarian law and its support for the ICRC. Switzerland has also regularly reminded the parties to a conflict of their legal obligations, for example in Syria, Mali or the occupied Palestinian territories. … Furthermore, Switzerland is working to ensure that international humanitarian law is applied throughout the development of new technologies (drones and autonomous weapon systems in particular).
Initiative for strengthening respect for international humanitarian law: as a follow-up to the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held at the end of 2011, Switzerland jointly launched with the ICRC an initiative on strengthening respect for international humanitarian law. This initiative adopts the opinion of a majority of States convinced that increased respect for international humanitarian law is a prerequisite for improving the situation of victims. It is within this context that, during the second meeting held in June, States discussed measures designed to implement the initiative, such as the creation of a forum for systematic dialogue and the introduction of effective mechanisms that would enable the monitoring of compliance with international humanitarian law.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Despite repeated calls of the international community to put an end to grave violations against children’s rights in situations of armed conflict, the Secretary General’s list of parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children still contains more than 50 perpetrators, 46 of them being armed non-State actors. Switzerland welcomes the Special Representative’s efforts to engage with a number of these non-State actors to end grave violations against children and to finalize action plans. However, commitments from armed non-State actors are still very limited and there are several challenges to the conclusion of action plans with these groups, namely their ephemeral nature, government opposition or access restrictions.
Switzerland supports a project on “Improving Accountability for Children in Situations of Armed Conflict”, which is being implemented by the Liechtenstein Institute on Self- Determination and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict. The project will - among other things - focus on information exchange and dialogue between armed non-State actors, the UN and civil society as a step toward increased implementation of action plans.
We will also continue to support the non-governmental organisation Geneva Call, which has access to armed non-State actors and engages them to sign deeds of commitments to prevent and put a ban on the recruitment and use of children in hostilities. Geneva Call’s approach is complementary to the work undertaken by the UN, NGOs and other stakeholders.
Switzerland strongly condemns the widespread targeting of schools, teachers, and students and the practice of using schools for military purposes during armed conflict. We deplore the negative impact on children's safety and access to education, and calls on parties to armed conflict to refrain from the military use of schools. In this regard, Switzerland welcomes initiatives like the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.
Training and capacity building for the personnel responsible for child protection are of utmost importance. Pre-deployment trainings in child protection for peacekeepers are thus essential. Police officers, military personnel and civilians need specialized training on child protection tailored to their particular tasks. In this view, Switzerland will financially support the mainstreaming of the protection, rights and well-being of children affected by armed conflict within UN Peacekeeping operations. Also, we are of the view that government armed forces listed in the annexes to the Secretary General’s reports on children and armed conflict should be prohibited from participating in UN peacekeeping operations until they have adopted and fully implemented action plans to end violations against children. 
Switzerland, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland before the UN Security Council during an open debate on children in armed conflict, 7 March 2014.
This conflict [in Syria] has caused immeasurable human suffering as well as the exodus of more than 6 million refugees and displaced people. The spiral of violence affecting Syria, which has already claimed the lives of more than 130,000 people, must be brought to an end as quickly as possible. …
Switzerland condemns in the strongest possible terms the violations and abuses of human rights as well as international humanitarian law that continue to be committed on a large scale by all parties to the conflict. It is important to continue to document these violations and abuses in order to ensure that justice can be achieved for the victims. Switzerland reiterates its appeal to the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. The fight against impunity is an essential condition for establishing lasting peace in Syria. 
Switzerland, Statement by Switzerland during an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, 18 March 2014.
2. In the wake of the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held at the end of 2011, Switzerland and the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] launched a joint initiative on strengthening compliance with international humanitarian law. This initiative seeks to facilitate consultations with States and other relevant actors to explore ways to strengthen compliance with international humanitarian law. It was in this context that, during the second meeting held in June 2013, States expressed their strong support for establishing a forum for regular dialogue on international humanitarian law and continuing the debate on the introduction of effective mechanisms for monitoring compliance with international humanitarian law. The third meeting will be held on 30 June and 1 July 2014.
7. Five years after the adoption of the Montreux Document [on Private Military and Security Companies], Switzerland and the ICRC, in collaboration with DCAF [Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces], organized a conference known as the Montreux+5 Conference (11-13.12.2013). It was agreed that priority should now be given to focusing on the implementation of the obligations of States and international organizations with regard to private military and security companies. The need to establish a regular dialogue between those States and international organizations that support the Montreux Document was also stressed. Discussions are under way to establish a Montreux Document Forum (it could be established in late 2014 or early 2015).
As of May 2014, 50 States and three international organisations have expressed support for the Montreux Document (http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/fr/home/topics/intla/humlaw/pse/parsta.html).
The Association of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers was established 20 September 2013 during the first meeting of its General Assembly, held in Geneva, and this serves as the governance and oversight mechanism of the Code. The Charter for the governance mechanism had previously been successfully negotiated during a conference that took place in Montreux from 19 to 22 February 2013, and took the form of articles of association. At present (as of 26 May 2013), 708 companies from 55 different countries have signed the Code.
10. Switzerland supports and encourages the work of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) by providing it with its Secretariat. In February 2013, Switzerland organised a briefing to which it invited all States in order to explain the purpose and functioning of the IHFFC. The Secretariat of the IHFFC has sent a letter to all States that have not yet recognized the competence of the IHFFC to encourage them to do so. In the context of the debate on the status of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions relating to victims of armed conflicts, in 2012, during the 6th Committee of the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, Switzerland encouraged States Parties to the First Protocol that had not already done so to recognize the [Commission’s] competence, recalling that such recognition may be effected by simply lodging a declaration with the Depositary. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Directorate of International Law, Report on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts (2012-2014), 30 May 2014, §§ 2, 7 and 10.
The conflict in Syria has caused immeasurable human suffering as well as the exodus of more than 9 million refugees and displaced people. Switzerland condemns in the strongest possible terms the violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law that continue to be committed on a large scale by all parties to the conflict with total impunity. Respect for international humanitarian law and the fight against impunity are essential conditions for establishing lasting peace. Switzerland recalls that the UN Security Council Resolution on referring the situation to the International Criminal Court was supported by 65 States. We urge this Council to adopt a resolution on Syria that gives paramount importance to international humanitarian law as well as the International Criminal Court in the efforts to end impunity in Syria. 
Switzerland, Statement by the representative of Switzerland during an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria at the 26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 17 June 2014.
Switzerland is extremely concerned about the serious violations of international law committed by members of the “Islamic State” in Iraq and in Syria. These violations may even constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. In the face of such alarming facts and allegations, the international community cannot remain indifferent.
The FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs] condemns in the strongest possible terms the serious and systematic discrimination that religious minorities are subjected to by members of the “Islamic State” group and armed groups associated with it, both in Iraq and in Syria. The forced removal of Christians from Mosul is unacceptable, as are the abuses committed against other minorities, such as the Turkomans, the Yazidi and the Shabak. Switzerland reiterates that widespread or systematic attacks against civilians can constitute crimes against humanity. What is more, in this case the abuses are based on religious or ethnic discrimination.
The FDFA also condemns cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to which women in particular are being subjected. Switzerland stresses that stonings and crucifixions are serious human rights violations. All parties to the conflict, including members of the "Islamic State" group and associated groups, must respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians.
Urgent measures must be taken to ensure that those suspected of having committed the most serious crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes, are prosecuted. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Switzerland is extremely concerned about the attacks against civilians in Iraq, particularly minorities and women”, Press Release, 21 July 2014.
To protect the civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, and to help the large numbers of victims in Gaza, the parties to the conflict must urgently implement an effective ceasefire and commit unconditionally to fulfilling their obligations under international law. The FDFA has once again stated its support for international efforts and reiterates its call and readiness to improve the plight of civilians and restore chances for a political settlement to the conflict. In its capacity as depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland began consultations with the states parties to the conventions following an official Palestinian request to hold a conference by the end of the year.
In addition to its role as depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland also works in a separate and direct way through its humanitarian aid activities, development cooperation work and actions to improve respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, with the FDFA supporting international efforts for a just and lasting peace. Switzerland reiterates its readiness to alleviate the suffering of the victims and to help find a way out of the conflict.
The most pressing matter at hand is a comprehensive and lasting cease-fire, allowing civilians to live without fear and victims to access aid from humanitarian agencies. As the norms of international humanitarian law only specify minimum standards – already taking into account military and security imperatives – they must be respected unconditionally. The number of civilian casualties, including children who have been killed or injured, would have been much lower today if the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality had been fully implemented during the hostilities. Switzerland reiterates in the strongest terms its condemnation of all acts that violate international law regardless of the perpetrator.
Faced with the violations of international humanitarian law committed in and from Gaza, and owing to controversies as to who is responsible, the FDFA considers it necessary to establish the facts in a full and impartial manner. To this end, it has supported and welcomes the creation of an independent commission of inquiry by the Human Rights Council. This commission must be able to investigate all violations with the support of all the actors involved. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Middle East: parties to the conflict must urgently heed international calls”, Press Release, 30 July 2014, pp. 1–2.
Atrocities committed against civilians – specifically by members of the Islamic State group – are precipitating a serious humanitarian crisis. Switzerland is extremely concerned and is responding by offering material assistance to the victims, condemning the serious violations of international law and calling on Iraq to take appropriate measures. Switzerland is currently scaling up its humanitarian assistance.
The root cause of this crisis is a lack of respect for the most fundamental human values. Even the most vulnerable are not spared: children, women, the elderly, the wounded and sick. Switzerland calls again on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights.
All victims of these violations of fundamental rights must be able to benefit from protection and assistance, and Switzerland expects all parties to the conflict to offer humanitarian actors secure access to all the victims. Furthermore, it is important to create the conditions which will allow the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of all internally displaced persons as soon as possible. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, “Switzerland steps up humanitarian aid for victims in Iraq”, Press Release, 15 August 2014.
Action plan to prevent the abuse of children within the context of the phenomenon of child soldiers
… The safety and rights of those who are the most vulnerable is a priority for our country. This is why Switzerland is committed to the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
Switzerland … is committed to creating effective mechanisms to strengthen respect for international humanitarian law and, together with the ICRC, has launched an initiative in pursuit of this objective. In this regard, the fight against impunity is an important element – this is the reason why Switzerland is making a significant commitment to strengthening the International Criminal Court. 
Switzerland, Speech by the President of the Swiss Confederation entitled “Combating the phenomenon of child soldiers: so that children have the right to be children” during the Annual Conference of the Human Security Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, 14 October 2014, pp. 2–3.
Syrian Arab Republic
Upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the Syrian Arab Republic made a reservation to the effect that “this accession in no way constitutes recognition of Israel nor the establishment of relations with Israel as regards the application of the provisions of the aforementioned Protocol”. 
Syrian Arab Republic, Declaration made upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 14 November 1983.
United Arab Emirates
Upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the United Arab Emirates declared:
On accepting the said protocol, the Government of the United Arab Emirates takes the view that its acceptance of the said protocol does not, in any way, imply its recognition of Israel, nor does it oblige it to apply the provisions of the protocol in respect of the said country. 
United Arab Emirates, Declaration made upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 9 March 1983.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1979, in reaction to the appeal made by the ICRC to ensure respect for international humanitarian law with regard to the conflict in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom stated that “we give our wholehearted support” to the ICRC Appeal. 
United Kingdom, Secretary of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Speech given by Mr. David Owen at the Bow Group meeting, House of Commons, 26 March 1979.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Lords, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
British Embassy staff in Kabul are in frequent contact with the ICRC, which monitors closely the situation and welfare of all prisoners in Afghanistan. However, the ICRC cannot provide full reports.
We are concerned about reported conditions in prisons across Afghanistan and have made clear to the Afghan Transitional Administration, which includes former Northern Alliance members, that we expect them, as the responsible authority for prisoners in Afghanistan, to respect their international obligations. This includes treating their prisoners humanely and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and international human rights law. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 14 January 2003, Vol. 643, Written Answers, col. WA10.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Lords, the UK Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
My Lords, I very much thank the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, for his welcome remarks. I heard what my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said about illegal settlements. They are illegal under international law. We believe that they are an obstacle to peace and that Israel should freeze all settlement activity.
My Lords, settlement activity and the security fence are causes of great concern to Her Majesty’s Government. Settlement activity has increased during the past year; it is important to keep that issue in the forefront of our minds. We are concerned about the 360 kilometre-long fence, to which the noble Lord referred, which takes up so much Palestinian land and separates families. Our embassy in Tel Aviv has raised with the Israeli Government our concern about the location and the impact of the security fence. We fully understand Israel’s need to take steps within the law to protect itself from terrorist attack, but that must be achieved through a negotiated peace, not by measures such as the security fence. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statements by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 25 February 2003, Vol. 645, Debates, cols. 120–121.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence stated: “We have made no representations to the US Government about Iraqi nationals in its detention. The US is a State Party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The treatment of persons in its detention is primarily a matter for the US as Detaining Power.” 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Hansard, 14 April 2003, Vol. 403, Written Answers, col. 527W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), stated:
FCO officials and I call regularly upon the parties to the Western Sahara dispute to take action on human rights issues. In February this year, I called for the immediate release of the remaining 1,160 Moroccan prisoners of war held by the Polisario Front, some held for over 25 years and some are in poor physical and mental health. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 28 April 2003, Vol. 404, Written Answers, col. 134W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2003, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Prime Minister stated:
On Iraq, the US Secretary of State is correct: Saddam Hussein will be treated with all the rights of a prisoner of war. The trial process should be determined by the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi people. It should be left to them. Of course we must ensure that the process is proper, independent and fair, but I am sure that the Iraqis have the capability to achieve that. We and other countries will work with them to ensure that that is correct. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Prime Minister, Hansard, 15 December 2003, Vol. 415, Debates, col. 1323.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Foreign Secretary stated:
We have frequently lobbied the Government of Israel since 1997 about human rights concerns and the plight of the Palestinians … [O]ur lobbying has increased since the start of the intifada in September 2000.
Among the issues raised on many occasions in 2003 were:
- civilian casualties;
- targeted assassinations;
- demolitions;
- confiscation of land;
- prisoners held in administrative detention;
- impact of the fence and “closed zone”;
- settlements and outposts;
- inappropriate behaviour by the Israel Defense Forces and rules of engagement;
- checkpoints and other internal barriers;
- the closure and curfew regimes;
- the hindrance to the movement of humanitarian aid;
- access problems for humanitarian workers and other essential staff;
- movement restrictions of dual nationals. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Foreign Secretary, Hansard, 2 February 2004, Vol. 417, Debates, cols. 678W–679W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, the use of child soldiers in Uganda, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We deeply deplore the use of child soldiers by the LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army]. We are also concerned at UN reports that the Ugandan army has been recruiting underage soldiers. We have recently raised this issue with senior army commanders. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 10 February 2004, Vol. 417, Written Answers, col. 1307W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Foreign Secretary stated regarding Israel’s policy of targeted killings:
Our position on those so-called assassinations – straightforward killings – is … The killings are unlawful, unjustified and self-defeating, and they damage the case that Israel makes in the world. The fact that the killings led to the deaths of not only those whom Israel holds responsible for terrorism, but entirely innocent bystanders, including children, simply emphasises the unlawful nature of that approach, and its counterproductive effect. We will continue to make our position clear to the Government of Israel in representations, which we continually make both bilaterally and through the European Union. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Foreign Secretary, Hansard, 30 March 2004, Vol. 419, Debates, cols. 1403–1404.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
The reports of systematic attacks on civilians, including rape, pillage and destruction of livelihoods in Darfur are alarming. We have for some time been urging the parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect the principles set down in International Humanitarian Law. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 26 April 2004, Vol. 420, Written Answers, col. 776W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, the application of international humanitarian law to the situation in Myanmar, the UK Minister for Trade and Investment stated:
We look to the Burmese authorities to respect and abide by the principles of international law, including international humanitarian law, and notably all the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to which Burma is a State Party.
The UK co-sponsored a resolution which was unanimously adopted at the UN Commission on Human Rights on 21 April that condemned human rights violations suffered by ethnic groups in Burma. The Resolution called on the regime to consider as a matter of high priority becoming party to the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions, of 12 August 1949. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister for Trade and Investment, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 24 June 2004, Vol. 422, Written Answers, col. 1527W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
Let me be clear: destruction of property in the construction of the barrier in occupied territory is not justified by absolute military necessity and is therefore unlawful under the terms of the fourth Geneva Convention.
Where the barrier separates Palestinians from Palestinians, rather than Palestinians from Israelis, it does not appear to have taken a route decided solely on grounds of security, and the impact on the daily lives of Palestinian people has been dreadful. Palestinian farmers are being separated from their fields, children from their schools and the sick from hospitals. The Government believe that building a barrier on occupied land is illegal, that the humanitarian impact is unacceptable and that routing the barrier through Palestinian land is not necessary to protect Israeli security.
We continue to recognise Israel’s right to defend itself, but reiterate the need for Israel to act in accordance with international law. We call on Israel to reroute the barrier, away from the occupied territories. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 20 July 2004, Vol. 424, Debates, col. 58WH.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, compliance with the 1949 Geneva Conventions in relation to prisoners detained in Afghanistan, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated: “The UK calls for prisoners’ rights to be fully respected and due process to be applied to all prisoners, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and international human rights law.” 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 14 October 2004, Vol. 425, Written Answers, col. 360W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, discussions with the Government of Sudan relating to the situation in Darfur, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We are gravely concerned by the forced relocations of people in camps in Darfur. This appears to be a breach of international humanitarian law, as well as the established mechanisms on relocations. We have repeatedly made clear to the Government of Sudan that all returns must be voluntary and appropriate and carried out with full and prior consultation with the international community, as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Sudan and the International Organisation for Migration. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 16 November 2004, Vol. 426, Written Answers, col. 1343W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning representations made to the Government of Sudan, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
Our Embassy in Khartoum, both bilaterally and as part of the EU-Sudan dialogue, makes regular representations to the Sudanese Government on the need for it to abide by international humanitarian law, including UN international human rights treaties. These include, inter alia, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention Against Torture and the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. During my visit to Sudan, I pressed Sudanese Justice Minister Yassin to ratify the Convention Against Torture as soon as possible. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 13 December 2004, Vol. 428, Written Answers, col. 901W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, the “shooting of children in Kuta Dahil, Bertniya Sabn al-Rjoub and Ratah” by the Israel Defense Forces, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We recognise Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism but it must act in accordance with international law. In this context we have made representations at every level to the Israeli authorities raising our concerns regarding the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli defence forces in Gaza, and the number of civilian casualties, particularly children, which have resulted from their actions. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 7 March 2005, Vol. 431, Written Answers, col. 1572W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, representations made to the Government of Colombia on the conduct of the Colombian Army, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We continue to urge the Colombian Government to implement all outstanding recommendations by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. We have also made it plain that the armed forces must act in accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law, and have provided funding for training in these areas. Where members of the armed forces are proven to have committed human rights abuses they must be punished in accordance with the law. Impunity must not be allowed, a message we have also reiterated to the Colombians. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 16 March 2005, Vol. 432, Written Answers, col. 337W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, in a written answer to a question concerning attacks against humanitarian workers in Darfur, the UK Minister of State for Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We condemn the recent attacks against humanitarian workers in Darfur. Many of these attacks appear to be the result of opportunistic banditry and general lawlessness. The African Union mission in Darfur has made a positive impact on security in the areas in which it has deployed and we fully support its expansion as the best way of addressing the security situation in Darfur. We continue to make clear to the Government of Sudan that it is their responsibility to provide security for all their people, and to actively pursue those who breach the law. We have made clear to all parties that attacks against humanitarian workers are in violation of international humanitarian law and it is imperative that those responsible are brought to justice. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 25 May 2005, Vol. 434, Written Answers, col. 138W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, in reply to a question concerning, inter alia, the issuing of land requisition orders to facilitate the construction of a barrier in the West Bank, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated: “We deplore the destruction of Palestinian homes and the confiscation of land associated with the barrier’s construction. We have made our concerns extremely clear to the Israeli Government and will continue to do so.” 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 7 June 2005, Vol. 672, Debates, col. WA75.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, during a debate in the House of Lords, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
There is no doubt that violations of international humanitarian and human rights law have been committed in Darfur. We have consistently made clear that the perpetrators of these terrible crimes must be brought to justice. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 27 June 2005, Vol. 673, Debates, col. WA9.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, in a written answer to a question concerning “discussions the Government have held with the Russian Government regarding its military involvement in Chechnya”, the UK Minister of State for Europe stated:
We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Chechnya. We are especially concerned about the culture of impunity, with continuing reports of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention and torture. We frequently raise our concerns with the Russian Government, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora. These include concerns about the military component of Russia’s response to the problems in Chechnya. Bilaterally, we most recently discussed Chechnya in depth during the UK-Russia Human Rights dialogue on 23 May, when we expressed our belief that effective maintenance of security and actions to counter terrorism should be pursued within a framework that respects human rights and international humanitarian law. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Europe, Hansard, 12 July 2005, Vol. 436, Written Answers, col. 870W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2005, in a written answer to a question concerning “what measures the UK Government have taken as a state party to the fourth Geneva Convention to … ensure compliance with the Convention under the ruling of the International Court of Justice ruling of 9 July 2004”, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We supported United Nations General Assembly Resolution ES (Emergency Session) 10/15 which acknowledged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory. We agree with the broad conclusion of the ICJ, that building a barrier on parts of the current route is unlawful. We have discussed the way forward with EU partners and others, and we continue to urge Israel to comply with international law. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 24 October 2005, Vol. 438, Written Answers, col. 77W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2006, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning “representations the Government has made to the Israeli Government on Israel taking more Palestinian land for settlements”, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We will continue to raise our concerns over the settlements and the barrier with the Israeli Government at all levels.
Our ambassador in Tel Aviv last raised our concerns about settlements and impact of the barrier in East Jerusalem with the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 19 December 2005. He also raised Palestinian access to the Jordan Valley on 2 March with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Special Adviser.
Settlements are illegal under international law and settlement construction is an obstacle to peace. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 13 March 2006, Vol. 443, Written Answers, cols. 1905W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2006, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning “whether it is Government policy to regard the Green Line as the border of Israel”, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
Settlement building on Palestinian land is illegal under international law and settlement construction is an obstacle to peace. The barrier’s route should be on or behind the Green Line, and not on occupied territory. Construction of the barrier on Palestinian land is also illegal. We continue to raise both of these issues with the Israeli Government at all levels. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 15 March 2006, Vol. 443, Written Answers, cols. 2379W–2380W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2006, in a written answer to a question concerning, inter alia, “the implications under the Geneva Conventions of the targeting by Israel of civilian facilities and infrastructure in Gaza”, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We are opposed to the targeting of civilian facilities and call upon Israel to respect international law and, in particular, the requirement of proportionality and the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 10 July 2006, Vol. 448, Written Answers, col. 1522W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2006, in a written ministerial statement, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
While Israel has the right to defend itself and to secure the release of Corporal Shalit, its actions should be proportionate and in accordance with international law, as we, the G8 and the EU have made clear. We call on Israel to exercise restraint and to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Written statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 11 July 2006, Vol. 684, Written Statements, col. WS39.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2006, in a reply to a question concerning “the extent of the use of child soldiers in the conflict in Darfur”, the UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment stated:
In September 2006, a UN panel of experts reported the recruitment of child soldiers by parties to the conflict in Darfur. Recruitment of child soldiers is a breach of international humanitarian law and explicitly prohibited by article 24 of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). We have regularly made clear to the Government of Sudan that we expect them to uphold the commitments they have made under, in particular, the convention on the rights of the child and its optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict. We have also told the Sudan Liberation Army and Justice and Equality Movement that the recruitment and use of child soldiers is wholly unacceptable and in contravention of its obligations under the Abuja Security protocol of 8 November 2004, which commits both movements and the Government to stop recruiting children as combatants. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Department of Trade and Industry, Hansard, 20 October 2006, Vol. 450, Written Answers, col. 1526W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2006, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning “what mechanisms are being used to persuade Israel to comply with international law”, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We understand that our EU partners raise their concerns directly with the Israeli government. The UK continues to make representations to the Israeli government regarding the routing of the barrier. While Israel is entitled to take measures to strengthen their security, the routing of the barrier on occupied land is contrary to international law.
We agree with the broad conclusion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), that building a barrier along the current route is unlawful. We supported UN General Assembly Resolution Emergency Session 10/15 which acknowledged the ICJ Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 2 November 2006, Vol. 451, Written Answers, col. 667W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Lords concerning the UK Government’s actions to ensure that the EU implements its guidelines on international humanitarian law and human rights in respect of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated: “[W]e continue to stress to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority the need to ensure that their actions comply with international law”. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 8 January 2007, Vol. 688, Debates, col. WA28.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Lords concerning the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We also call on Israel to route the barrier on or behind the Green Line and freeze all settlement activity and dismantle all outposts built since 2001. The routing of the barrier and the construction of settlements on occupied land is illegal. We continue to raise these issues with the Israeli Government. 
United Kingdom, House of Lords, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 8 January 2007, Vol. 688, Debates, col. WA29.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning the United Kingdom’s compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, particularly with Articles 1 and 147 therein, the UK Minister of State for Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote:
The United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention and complies with its provisions. Every appropriate opportunity is taken in our bilateral relations and through appropriate international bodies to promote respect for the convention and its articles. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Trade, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 25 June 2007, Vol. 462, Written Answers, col. 200W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning the UK Government’s representations to the Government of Israel regarding the incursions of Israeli armed forces into the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
The impact of Israel’s military operations remains a real concern. Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism but it must respect international humanitarian law. We regularly raise our concerns about this with the Israeli Government. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 3 July 2007, Vol. 462, Written Answers, col. 998W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2007, in its response to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s report on the Middle East, in which the question was raised whether the Government considered the use of cluster munitions by Israel in Lebanon proportionate, the UK Government stated:
As the UK made clear during the conflict last year, we were deeply concerned by the deaths of civilians and damage to infrastructure in both Lebanon and Israel. We consistently urged Israel to act proportionately, to conform to international law, and to do more to avoid civilian death and suffering. 
United Kingdom, Eighth Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 20067. Global Security: The Middle East. Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 7212, October 2007, p.17.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2007, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote:
Over 1,000 Qassam rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israeli targets since Hamas seized control of Gaza on 14 June 2007, wounding a number of Israelis. It has also caused damage to infrastructure. We continue to call for an immediate halt to these attacks, which target civilians. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hansard, 4 December 2007, Vol. 468, Written Answers, col. 1136W.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2008, the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs responded to the 2007 Annual Report on Human Rights by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. The Secretary of State noted that the Government continues “to urge the Ethiopians to use only appropriate force, adhere to international humanitarian law and respect human rights.” 
United Kingdom, Response of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to the Annual Report on Human Rights 2007 by the Foreign Affairs Committee, September 2008, Cm 7463, § 102.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2008, during a debate in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development stated: “The [UK] Government welcome the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to protect civilian populations and have continued to lobby for all parties in the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.” 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Hansard, 14 October 2008, Vol. 704, Westminster Hall, col. 246 WH.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
United Kingdom, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
United States of America
In 1979, in reaction to the appeal made by the ICRC to ensure respect for international humanitarian law with regard to the conflict in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the United States stated: “We … wish to endorse the appeal issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross.” 
United States, Department of State, Statement by the Spokesperson for the Department of State, Mr. Hodding Carter, 21 March 1979.
While the core challenges in the protection of civilians identified in the previous reports of the Secretary-General still need our sustained attention, the new report also identifies several protection policy priorities that need to be explored. In particular the following “emerging” issues would benefit from our attention, and the Group of Friends stands ready to act as a platform to advance them. …
First, on the arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations: The Group recalls that international humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to protect civilian populations from the effect of armed conflict. One way this can be achieved is by allowing and facilitating access for humanitarian relief operations, including by simplifying and expediting procedures for the rapid and unhindered delivery of life-saving assistance. The Group is concerned about intimidations, threats, arrests, detentions, injuries or killings of humanitarian workers.
In this regard, the Group notes the intention of the Secretary-General to examine the issue of arbitrary withholding of consent to relief operations. We note the fact that several drafting seminars among legal experts from diverse backgrounds have taken place; responding to the Secretary-General’s recommendation in this regard, the Group expresses its readiness to discuss their findings, among other inputs, with a view to elaborating guidance on how to facilitate consent in a peaceful manner. All parties to conflict must abide by international humanitarian principles and practice to protect civilians; the international community needs to take the initiative to guarantee this.
Second, on the issue of casualty tracking and recording: The Group of Friends notes that civilian casualty tracking, where practicable, plays an important role in efforts to reduce harm to civilians. The Group of Friends invites parties to a conflict, as well as UN peacekeeping missions, to recognize the potential value of such a role. With regards to casualty recording, and in light of the recent presentation of the Rights Up Front Plan of Action, the Group notes the continuation of efforts to ensure effective and credible casualty recording mechanisms, noting further that the establishment of systematic and credible records of civilian casualties in the right context could support broader efforts to monitor and report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, while taking into account the practical challenges in recording casualties, civilian or otherwise. 
Uruguay, Statement by the permanent representative of Switzerland during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict made on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, 12 February 2014, p. 2.
Viet Nam
In 2008, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the representative of Viet Nam stated that “regional organizations, with their good understanding of regional stakeholders, are well positioned to convince parties to armed conflict to … respect humanitarian and human rights law.” 
Viet Nam, Statement by the representative of Viet Nam before the UN Security Council during a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 27 May 2008, p. 14.
Viet Nam
In 2008, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, the representative of Viet Nam stated: “We once again urge Israel scrupulously to abide by international law – above all human rights and humanitarian law”. 
Viet Nam, Statement by the representative of Viet Nam before the UN Security Council during a debate on the situation in the Middle East, 3 December 2008, p. 12.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 1990 following Israel’s decision to deport four Palestinians from the occupied territories, the UN Security Council:
5. Calls upon the high contracting parties to [the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949] to ensure respect by Israel, the occupying Power, for its obligations under the Convention in accordance with Article 1 thereof;
6. Requests the Secretary-General, in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, to develop further the idea expressed in his report of convening a meeting of the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and to discuss possible measures that might be taken by them under the Convention and for this purpose to invite these parties to submit their views on how the idea could contribute to the goals of the Convention, as well as on other relevant matters, and to report thereon to the Council. 
UN Security Council, Res. 681, 20 December 1990, §§ 5 and 6, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1977, the UN General Assembly, considering that the 1977 Geneva Convention IV was applicable to the territories occupied by Israel, urged all parties thereto “to exert all efforts in order to ensure respect for and compliance with the provisions thereof in all the Arab territories occupied by Israel”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 32/91 A, 13 December 1977, § 4, voting record: 132-1-1-15.
This was reiterated in several subsequent resolutions. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 33/113 A, 18 December 1978, § 4, voting record: 140-1-1-9; Res. 34/90 A, 12 December 1979, § 4, voting record: 111-2-31-8; Res. 34/90 C, 12 December 1979, § 5, voting record: 140-1-4-7; Res. 35/122 A, 11 December 1980, § 4, voting record: 141-1-1-11; Res. 35/122 B, 11 December 1980, § 5, voting record: 140-1-3-10; Res. 36/147 A, 16 December 1981, § 5, voting record: 142-1-3-11; Res. 36/147 B, 16 December 1981, § 5, voting record: 142-1-3-11; Res. 37/88 A, 9 December 1982, § 4, voting record: 134-1-1-21; Res. 37/88 B, 9 December 1982, § 5, voting record: 134-1-1-21; Res. 38/79 A, 15 December 1983, § 4, voting record: 110-2-29-17; Res. 38/79 B, 15 December 1983, § 5, voting record: 146-1-1-10; Res. 39/95 A, 14 December 1984, § 4, voting record: 120-2-15-22; Res. 39/95 B, 14 December 1984, § 5, voting record: 140-1-3-15; Res. 40/161 B, 16 December 1985, § 4, voting record: 137-1-6-15; Res. 40/161 C, 16 December 1985, § 5, voting record: 138-1-6-14.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1982 on the situation in the Middle East, the UN General Assembly called upon “the parties [to the 1907 Hague Convention IV and the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] to respect and ensure respect of their obligations under these instruments in all circumstances”.  
UN General Assembly, Res. 37/123 A, 16 December 1982, § 6, voting record: 87-22-31-17.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1983 on the situation in the Middle East, the UN General Assembly called upon “the parties [to the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] to respect and ensure respect of their obligations under these instruments in all circumstances”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 38/180 A, 19 December 1983, § 6, voting record: 85-23-31-19.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1988 on the uprising (intifadah) of the Palestinian people, the UN General Assembly called upon “all the High Contracting Parties to [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] to take appropriate measures to ensure respect by Israel, the occupying Power, for the Convention in all circumstances, in conformity with their obligation under article 1 thereof”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 43/21, 3 November 1988, § 5, voting record: 130-2-16-11.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol 1 to the four Geneva Conventions,
Noting the convening of the meeting of experts of High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, at Geneva from 27 to 29 October 1998, at the initiative of the Government of Switzerland in its capacity as the depositary of the Convention, concerning problems of application of the Convention in general and, in particular, in occupied territories,
Noting also the convening for the first time, on 15 July 1999, of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, as recommended by the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/6 of 9 February 1999, on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, and aware of the statement adopted by the Conference,
Welcoming and encouraging the initiatives by States parties to the Convention, both individually and collectively, according to article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, aimed at ensuring respect for the Convention,
Stressing that Israel, the occupying Power, should comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law,
1. Reaffirms that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, is applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
2. Demands that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with the provisions of the Convention;
3. Calls upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, to continue to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
4. Reiterates the need for speedy implementation of the relevant recommendations contained in its resolutions of the tenth emergency special session with regard to ensuring respect by Israel, the occupying Power, for the provisions of the Convention. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/97, 17 December 2003, preamble and §§ 1–4, voting record: 164-6-4-17.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the UN General Assembly:
Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law,
Reaffirming also the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Reaffirming further the obligation of the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention under articles 146, 147 and 148 with regard to penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/99, 9 December 2003, preamble, voting record: 150-6-19-16.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted during an emergency special session in 2004 on the Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, the UN General Assembly:
Having received with respect the advisory opinion of the Court on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, rendered on 9 July 2004,
Noting in particular that the Court replied to the question put forth by the General Assembly in resolution ES-10/14 as follows:
“D. All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; all States Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention;
3. Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion;
7. Calls upon all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure respect by Israel for the Convention, and invites Switzerland, in its capacity as the depositary of the Geneva Conventions, to conduct consultations and to report to the General Assembly on the matter, including with regard to the possibility of resuming the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention. 
UN General Assembly, Res. ES-10/15, 20 July 2004, preamble and §§ 3 and 7, voting record: 150-6-10-25.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the four Geneva Conventions,
Noting the convening for the first time, on 15 July 1999, of a Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, as recommended by the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/6 of 9 February 1999, on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, and aware of the statement adopted by the Conference,
Welcoming the reconvening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on 5 December 2001 in Geneva and stressing the importance of the Declaration adopted by the Conference, and underlining the need for the parties to follow up the implementation of the Declaration,
Welcoming and encouraging the initiatives by States parties to the Convention, both individually and collectively, according to article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, aimed at ensuring respect for the Convention,
3. Calls upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions and as mentioned in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004, to continue to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
4. Reiterates the need for speedy implementation of the relevant recommendations contained in the resolutions of its tenth emergency special session, including resolution ES-10/15, with regard to ensuring respect by Israel, the occupying Power, for the provisions of the Convention. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/122, 10 December 2004, preamble and §§ 3–4, voting record: 160-7-11-13.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the UN General Assembly:
Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law, and recalling in this regard its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,
Reaffirming also the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Reaffirming further the obligation of the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention8 under articles 146, 147 and 148 with regard to penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/124, 10 December 2004, preamble, voting record: 149-7-22-13.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the UN General Assembly:
Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations under international law, as mentioned in the advisory opinion and as demanded in resolutions ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003 and ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and, inter alia, that it immediately cease its construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/39, 1 December 2005, preamble, § 11, voting record: 156-6-9-20.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, the UN General Assembly:
Noting the convening for the first time, on 15 July 1999, of a Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, as recommended by the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/6 of 9 February 1999, on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, and aware of the statement adopted by the Conference,
Welcoming the reconvening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on 5 December 2001 in Geneva and stressing the importance of the Declaration adopted by the Conference, and underlining the need for the parties to follow up the implementation of the Declaration,
Welcoming and encouraging the initiatives by States parties to the Convention, both individually and collectively, according to article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, aimed at ensuring respect for the Convention,
3. Calls upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions and as mentioned in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004, to continue to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/105, 8 December 2005, preamble and § 3, voting record: 158-6-7-20.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the UN General Assembly:
Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law, and recalling in this regard its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,
Reaffirming also the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Reaffirming further the obligation of the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention under articles 146, 147 and 148 with regard to penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/107, 8 December 2005, preamble, voting record: 148-7-17-19.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the Syrian Golan, the UN General Assembly:
Reaffirms its determination that all relevant provisions of the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907, and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and calls upon the parties thereto to respect and ensure respect for their obligations under those instruments in all circumstances. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/27, 1 December 2006, § 3, voting record: 107-6-60-19.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I, to the four Geneva Conventions,
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, and also recalling General Assembly resolution ES-10/15,
Noting in particular the Court’s reply, including that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that Israel is in breach of several of the provisions of the Convention,
Noting the convening, on 15 July 1999, of a Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, and stressing the importance of the Declaration adopted by the reconvened Conference on 5 December 2001 and the need for the parties to follow up the implementation of the Declaration,
Welcoming and encouraging the initiatives by States parties to the Convention, both individually and collectively, according to article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, aimed at ensuring respect for the Convention,
3. Calls upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions and as mentioned in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004, to continue to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/117, 14 December 2006, preamble and § 3, voting record: 165-7-10-10.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and recalling also its resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,
14. Demands, accordingly, that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations under international law, as mentioned in the advisory opinion and as demanded in resolutions ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003 and ES-10/15 and, inter alia, that it immediately cease its construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/83, 10 December 2007, preamble and § 14, voting record: 161-7-5-19.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the Syrian Golan, the UN General Assembly:
Reaffirms its determination that all relevant provisions of the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907, and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and calls upon the parties thereto to respect and ensure respect for their obligations under those instruments in all circumstances. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/85, 10 December 2007, § 3, voting record: 111-6-56-19.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the four Geneva Conventions,
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, and also recalling General Assembly resolution ES-10/15,
Noting in particular the Court’s reply, including that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that Israel is in breach of several of the provisions of the Convention,
Noting the convening, on 15 July 1999, of a Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, and stressing the importance of the Declaration adopted by the reconvened Conference on 5 December 2001 and the need for the parties to follow up the implementation of the Declaration,
Welcoming and encouraging the initiatives by States parties to the Convention, both individually and collectively, according to article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, aimed at ensuring respect for the Convention,
3. Calls upon all High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions and as mentioned in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004, to continue to exert all efforts to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/107, 17 December 2007, preamble and § 3, voting record: 169-6-3-14.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Recalling the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civil Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the Commission on Human Rights,
Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law,
3. Urges all Member States signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention to express the inadmissibility of the ongoing violation of the rights of Palestinian civilians, especially women and children, stipulated in these instruments, and to demand their effective observance by Israel, the occupying Power;
5. Calls upon Member States to take the necessary measures that fulfil their obligations under the instruments of international human rights law and international humanitarian law to ensure that Israel ceases killing, targeting, arresting and harassing Palestinians, particularly women and children. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/7, 14 April 2005, preamble and §§ 3 and 5, voting record: 29-10-14.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1990 on the situation in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights called upon the States parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention IV “to apply article 1 of the Convention and to ensure respect by Israel for the Convention”. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1990/12, 30 August 1990, § 4.
This appeal was reiterated in 1991 and 1992. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1991/6, 23 August 1991, § 4; Res. 1992/10, 26 August 1992, § 4.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1993 on the situation in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights called upon “the States parties to [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] to implement article 1 of the Convention, to ensure respect by Israel for the Convention and to secure protection for the Palestinian people under occupation, until the end of this occupation”. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1993/15, 20 August 1993, § 4.
UN Secretary-General
In 1984, in reaction to the appeals made by the ICRC to ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the Iran–Iraq War, the UN Secretary-General stated that he remained “deeply concerned that serious infringements of the terms of the Geneva Conventions may bring into discredit those rules of law and universal principles” and underscored “the vital importance of ensuring the observance of the principles embodied in the Geneva Conventions”. 
UN Secretary-General, Note verbale dated 26 June 1984 addressed to the member States and observer States that are States Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, UN Doc. S/16648, 26 June 1984, p. 2.
UN Secretary-General
In 1988, in a report on the situation in the Palestinian and other Arab territories, the UN Secretary-General recommended that:
The Security Council should consider making a solemn appeal to all the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention that have diplomatic relations with Israel, drawing their attention to their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to “… ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances” and urging them to use all the means at their disposal to persuade the Government of Israel to change its position as regards the applicability of the Convention. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the situation in the territories occupied by Israel submitted in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 605 (1987), UN Doc. S/19443, 21 January 1988, § 27.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1984 on the activities of the ICRC, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly noted that “all the High Contracting Parties to the [1949] Geneva Conventions share an equal burden of responsibility to ensure respect for the principle of humanitarian protection, which is the cornerstone of the said conventions”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 823, 28 June 1984, § 8.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1987 on the activities of the ICRC, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly recalled that “the members of the Council of Europe, as parties to the [1949] Geneva Conventions, have a particular responsibility and must exert their influence to ensure respect for the rules of international humanitarian law at all times and in all circumstances”. It invited the governments of member States “to help to ensure respect in all circumstances for the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the international humanitarian law applicable to armed conflicts”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 881, 1 July 1987, §§ 21 and 23(iii).
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1989 on the activities of the ICRC, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly invited the governments of member States “to respect and to help to ensure respect in all circumstances for the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977, and the international humanitarian law applicable to armed conflicts”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 921, 6 July 1989, § 20(i).
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1992 on the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly invited the governments of member States “to launch an appeal to the conflicting parties to respect the four Geneva conventions of 1949”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 984, 30 June 1992, § 13(iii).
Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
In a declaration adopted in 1993 on the rape of women and children in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, “having regard to the specific responsibility of the Council of Europe to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms”, appealed “to member States and the international community at large to ensure that these atrocities cease and that their instigators and perpetrators are prosecuted by an appropriate national or international penal tribunal”. 
Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, Declaration on the rape of women and children in the territory of former Yugoslavia, 18 February 1993, § 4.
NATO Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1999, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly reminded all States of their obligation, under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, not only to respect but to ensure respect for IHL in all circumstances. 
NATO, Parliamentary Assembly, Civilian Affairs Committee Resolution, Amsterdam, 15 November 1999, § 7.
OAU Conference of African Ministers of Health
In a resolution on health and war adopted in 1995, the OAU Conference of African Ministers of Health, after urging member States to accede to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols, stressed “the obligation for them to respect and have the International Humanitarian Law respected, particularly by the strengthening of the implementation mechanisms”. 
OAU, Conference of African Ministers of Health, 24–29 April 1995, Res. 14 (V), § 2.
OAS General Assembly
In a resolution on respect for IHL adopted in 1996, the OAS General Assembly urged all members to “observe and fully enforce … the customary principles and norms contained in the 1977 Additional Protocols”. 
OAS, General Assembly, Res. 1408 (XXVI-O/96), 7 June 1996, § 4.
World Conference on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1968, the World Conference on Human Rights:
Noting that States parties to the Red Cross Geneva Conventions sometimes fail to appreciate their responsibility to take steps to ensure the respect of these humanitarian rules in all circumstances by other States, even if they are not themselves directly involved in an armed conflict,
2. Requests the Secretary-General, after consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, to draw the attention of all States members of the United Nations system to the existing rules of international law on the subject and urge them, pending the adoption of new rules of international law relating to armed conflicts, to ensure that in all armed conflicts the inhabitants and belligerents are protected in accordance with “the principles of the law of nations derived from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity and from the dictates of the public conscience”. 
World Conference on Human Rights, Res. XXIII on Human Rights in Armed Conflicts, Teheran, 12 May 1968, preamble and § 2.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1981)
The 24th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1981 adopted a resolution on the application of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV “to the occupied territories in the Middle East” in which it expressed its consciousness “of the fact that the Parties to the Geneva Conventions have undertaken, not only to respect, but also to ensure respect for the Conventions in all circumstances”. 
24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Manila, 7–14 November 1981, Res. III, preamble.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1981)
The 24th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1981 adopted a resolution in which it recalled that “pursuant to the Geneva Conventions, the States have the obligation not only to respect but to ensure respect for these Conventions” and made “a solemn appeal that the rules of international humanitarian law and the universally recognized humanitarian principles be safeguarded at all times and in all circumstances”. 
24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Manila, 7–14 November 1981, Res. VI.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1986)
The 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986 adopted a resolution in which it appealed “to Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fully carry out their obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention” and reminded “all parties to the Geneva Conventions of their common obligation to respect and ensure respect for those Conventions in all circumstances”. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. I, §§ 4–5.
CSCE Helsinki Summit (1992)
In 1992, at the Helsinki Summit of Heads of State or Government, CSCE participating States declared that they would “in all circumstances respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law including the protection of the civilian population”.  
CSCE, Helsinki Summit of Heads of State or Government, 9–10 July 1992, Helsinki Document 1992: The Challenges of Change, Decisions, Chapter VI: The Human Dimension, § 48.
International Conference for the Protection of War Victims
In the Final Declaration adopted by the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims in 1993, the participants undertook “to act in cooperation with the UN and in conformity with the UN Charter to ensure full compliance with international humanitarian law in the event of genocide and other serious violations of this law”, affirmed their responsibility, “in accordance with Article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions, to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in order to protect the victims of war” and urged all States to make every effort to “ensure the effectiveness of international humanitarian law and take resolute action, in accordance with that law, against States bearing responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law with a view to terminating such violations”. 
International Conference for the Protection of War Victims, Geneva, 30 August–1 September 1993, Final Declaration, §§ I(6), II and II(11), ILM, Vol. 33, 1994, pp. 299 and 301.
CSCE Budapest Summit (1994)
In 1994, at the Budapest Summit of Heads of State or Government, CSCE participating States reaffirmed “their commitment to respect and ensure respect for general international humanitarian law and in particular for their obligations under the relevant international instruments, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols, to which they are a party”. 
CSCE, Budapest Summit of Heads of State or Government, 5–6 December 1994, Budapest Document 1994: Towards a Genuine Partnership in a New Area, Decisions, Chapter VIII: The Human Dimension, § 33.
Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention
The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in 2001 adopted a declaration stating:
4. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon all parties, directly involved in the conflict [between Israel and Palestinians] or not, to respect and to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances …
5. The participating High Contracting Parties stress that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which takes fully into account imperative military necessity, has to be respected in all circumstances.
17. The participating High Contracting Parties welcome and encourage the initiatives by States Parties, both individually and collectively, according to art. 1 of the Convention and aimed at ensuring the respect of the Convention, and they underline the need for the Parties to follow up on the implementation of the present Declaration. 
Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Geneva, 5 December 2001, Declaration, §§ 4–5 and 17.
International Court of Justice
In the Nicaragua case (Merits) in 1986, the ICJ addressed the issue of US responsibilities under IHL. It considered that:
There is an obligation on the United States Government, in the terms of Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, to “respect” the Conventions and even “to ensure respect” for them “in all circumstances”, since such an obligation does not derive only from the Conventions themselves, but from the general principles of humanitarian law to which the Conventions merely give specific expression. The United States is thus under an obligation not to encourage persons or groups engaged in the conflict in Nicaragua to act in violation of the provisions of Article 3 common to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
ICJ, Nicaragua case (Merits), Judgment, 27 June 1986, § 220.
The ICJ also stated that “the US is bound to refrain from encouragement of persons or groups engaged in the conflict in Nicaragua to commit violations of Article 3 which is common to all four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949”. The Court then went on to consider some of the activities allegedly carried out by the United States, in particular, the publication and dissemination of a manual on “psychological operations”, which provided advice on how to “neutralize” certain “carefully selected and planned targets” such as judges, police officers and State security officials. The Court held:
When considering whether the publication of such a manual, encouraging the commission of acts contrary to general principles of humanitarian law, is unlawful, it is material to consider whether that encouragement was offered to persons in circumstances where the commission of such acts was likely or foreseeable. The Court has however found … that at the relevant time those responsible for the issue of the manual were aware of, at the least, the allegations that the behaviour of the contras in the field was not consistent with humanitarian law … The publication and dissemination of a manual in fact containing the advice quoted above must therefore be regarded as an encouragement, which was likely to be effective, to commit acts contrary to general principles of international humanitarian law reflected in treaties. 
ICJ, Nicaragua case (Merits), Judgment, 27 June 1986, §§ 255 and 256.
International Court of Justice
In its Advisory Opinion in Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2004, the International Court of Justice stated:
158. The Court would … emphasize that Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, a provision common to the four Geneva Conventions, provides that “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” It follows from that provision that every State party to that Convention, whether or not it is a party to a specific conflict, is under an obligation to ensure that the requirements of the instruments in question are complied with.
159. Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction. It is also for all States, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination is brought to an end. In addition, all the States parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 are under an obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention.
160. Finally, the Court is of the view that the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated régime, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion. 
ICJ, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, 9 July 2004, §§ 158–160.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Furundžija case in 1998, the ICTY Trial Chamber held:
Furthermore, the prohibition of torture imposes upon States obligations erga omnes, that is, obligations owed towards all the other members of the international community, each of which then has a correlative right. In addition, the violation of such an obligation simultaneously constitutes a breach of the correlative right of all members of the international community and gives rise to a claim for compliance accruing to each and every member, which then has the right to insist on fulfilment of the obligation or in any case to call for the breach to be discontinued. 
ICTY, Furundžija case, Judgment, 10 December 1998, § 151.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Kupreškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber, in rejecting the defence’s arguments based on the tu quoque principle (whereby the fact that the adversary has also committed similar crimes offers a valid defence to the accused), held:
As a consequence of their absolute character, these norms of international humanitarian law do not pose synallagmatic obligations, i.e. obligations of a State vis-à-vis another State. Rather – as was stated by the International Court of Justice in the Barcelona Traction case (which specifically referred to obligations concerning fundamental human rights) – they lay down obligations towards the international community as a whole, with the consequence that each and every member of the international community has a “legal interest” in their observance and consequently a legal entitlement to demand respect for such obligations. 
ICTY, Kupreškić case, Judgment, 14 January 2000, § 519.
ICRC
The ICRC Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention states with respect to Article 1 of the Convention:
In the event of a Power failing to fulfil its obligations, each of the Contracting Parties (neutral, allied or enemy) should endeavour to bring it back to an attitude of respect for the Convention. The proper working of the system of protection provided by the Convention demands in fact that the States which are parties to it should not be content merely to apply its provisions themselves, but should do everything in their power to ensure that it is respected universally. 
Jean S. Pictet (ed.), Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention, ICRC, Geneva, 1960, p. 18.
ICRC
The ICRC Commentary on the Additional Protocols states with respect to Article 1 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I that by including the express reference to the duty to ensure respect for IHL, as well as articles on specific methods of implementing this duty, the CDDH “clearly demonstrated that humanitarian law creates for each State obligations towards the international community as a whole (erga omnes); in view of the importance of the rights concerned, each State can be considered to have a legal interest in the protection of such rights”. 
Yves Sandoz et al. (eds.), Commentary on the Additional Protocols, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 45.
ICRC
The ICRC Commentary on the Additional Protocols states with respect to Article 89 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I:
The article prescribes for all Contracting Parties, and not only those who are Members of the United Nations, that they should act in those situations in co-operation with the Organization and in conformity with its Charter …
The wording of this article follows mutatis mutandis Article 56 of the United Nations Charter which is aimed at co-operation for the achievement of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with a view to ensuring peaceful and friendly relations among nations …
Acting for the protection of man, also in time of armed conflict, accords with the aims of the United Nations no less than does the maintenance of international peace and security. 
Yves Sandoz et al. (eds.), Commentary on the Additional Protocols, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 3594–3596.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in 1979 with respect to the conflict in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the ICRC stated:
2. … Fundamental humanitarian rules accepted by all nations – such as the obligation to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and to refrain from violence against the latter – have been largely ignored …
3. Since the end of 1976, the ICRC has on several occasions launched formal appeals to the authorities in Salisbury and to the leaders of the nationalist movements in order that they respect and apply the basic humanitarian rules in their conduct of warfare. The Front-Line States as well as the United Kingdom have been informed of the launching of these appeals and invited to support them.
8. The ICRC points out that ultimate responsibility for respecting and applying the provisions of humanitarian law lies, not with the ICRC, but with the parties to the conflict and with all States which have ratified or adhered to the Geneva Conventions and have thereby committed themselves to respect and to ensure respect for these Conventions in all circumstances. It therefore also appeals to:
–all the States parties to the Geneva Conventions, and in particular the United Kingdom,
–the Front-Line States (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia),
–the members of the United Nations Security Council,
–the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity,
–the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
–to fully support its appeal to the warring parties in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in order that an end be put to all the suffering there and that all the victims of the conflict receive the humanitarian protection and assistance to which they are entitled and which they so urgently need. 
ICRC, Conflict in Southern Africa: ICRC appeal, 19 March 1979, § 8, IRRC, No. 209, 1979, pp. 87–90.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in 1983 concerning the Iran–Iraq War, the ICRC asked
the States parties to the [1949] Geneva Conventions to make every effort – in discharge of the obligation they assumed under article 1 of the Conventions not only to respect but to ensure respect for the Conventions – to see that international humanitarian law is applied and these violations affecting tens of thousands of persons cease … Every means provided for in the Geneva Conventions to ensure their respect must be used to effect, especially the Protecting Powers which should be appointed to represent the belligerents’ interests in their enemy’s territory. 
ICRC, Conflict between Iraq and Iran: ICRC Appeal, 7 May 1983, IRRC, No. 235, 1983, p. 222.
ICRC
In an appeal issued in 1984 concerning the Iran–Iraq War, the ICRC stated that it wished “the States to take up in their dealings with the two belligerents the humanitarian issues it has brought to their attention, and to that effect it submitted a new memorandum to the States party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions on 13 February 1984”. It further stated that “it is convinced that the States, conscious of what is at stake, will have the desire and determination to act in accordance with the commitment they made of their own volition to respect and ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions”. 
ICRC, Conflict between Iran and Iraq: Second ICRC Appeal, 10 February 1984, IRRC, No. 239, 1984, p. 113.
ICRC
In a speech to all permanent representatives of States in Geneva in late 1984 concerning the Iran–Iraq War, the ICRC stated:
The ICRC, in its resolve to use all means to ensure the respect for international humanitarian law in the conflict between Iraq and Iran, has already approached the international community in order to denounce violations of the [1949] Geneva Conventions, and this in two memoranda dated 7 May 1983 and 10 February 1984 … The states signatory to the [1949] Geneva Conventions, who have undertaken to ensure that countries at war respect these Conventions, hold in their hands the fate of … threatened people, whom the ICRC alone is unable to save. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1498, The ICRC appeals to governments: its work halted in Iran, 23 November 1984.
ICRC
In a letter to two UK Members of Parliament in 1989, the ICRC Director of Principles, Law and Relations within the Movement wrote:
The ICRC considers it vital that the States party to the Geneva Conventions take all possible steps to ensure respect for [IHL] … It is moreover a legal obligation for them to do so because, in becoming party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions, those States have undertaken not only to respect the said Conventions themselves, but also to ensure respect for them by other States in all circumstances. This is the tenor of Article 1 common to the four Conventions … [It is] a matter of direct responsibility for the States. The ICRC therefore cannot but encourage them to make every effort to ensure that international humanitarian law is duly respected. 
ICRC, Letter dated 18 October 1989 from the ICRC Director of Principles, Law and Relations within the Movement to two UK Members of Parliament, reprinted in Labour Middle East Council and Conservative Middle East Council (eds.), Towards a Strategy for the Enforcement of Human Rights in the Israeli Occupied West Bank and Gaza, A Working Symposium, London, 25 July 1989, pp. vii–viii.
Council of Delegates (1993)
At its Birmingham Session in 1993, the Council of Delegates adopted a resolution on the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims in which it underlined the determination of States “to take firm action with respect to those States which are responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law”. 
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Council of Delegates, Birmingham, 29–30 October 1993, Res. 2, preamble.
ICRC
At the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in 2001, the ICRC stated:
10. Article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions stipulates that the “High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances”. This conference is to be viewed within that context. The ICRC has always welcomed all individual and joint efforts made by States party to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil this obligation and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. These efforts are all the more vital as violations of humanitarian law are far too common around the globe.
11. The means used to meet these legal and political responsibilities are naturally a matter to be decided upon by States. Whatever the means chosen, however, the ICRC wishes to emphasize that any action States may decide to take at international level must be aimed at achieving practical results and at ensuring application of and compliance with international humanitarian law, in the interests of the protected population. 
ICRC, Statement at the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Geneva, 5 December 2001, §§ 10–11.
Institute of International Law
In a resolution adopted during its Berlin Session in 1999, the Institute of International Law stated:
V. Every State and every non-State entity participating in an armed conflict are legally bound vis-à-vis each other as well as all other members of the international community to respect international humanitarian law in all circumstances, and any other State is legally entitled to demand respect for this body of law. No State or non-State entity can escape its obligations by denying the existence of an armed conflict.
VII. Without prejudice to the functions and powers which the Charter attributes to the organs of the United Nations, in case of systematic and massive violations of humanitarian law or fundamental human rights, States, acting individually or collectively, are entitled to take diplomatic, economic and other measures towards any party to the armed conflict which has violated its obligations, provided such measures are permitted under international law. 
Institute of International Law, Berlin Session, Resolution on the Application of International Humanitarian Law and Fundamental Human Rights in Armed Conflicts in which Non-State Entities are Parties, 25 August 1999, §§ V and VII.