Conflict victims need more legal protection: Red Cross

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An International Red Cross conference opening in Geneva on Monday will look at how to improve legal protection for the victims of armed conflict which it says has been overlooked.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will introduce a resolution to address weaknesses it said it had identified surrounding conditions of detention in national conflicts such as fights between states and armed opposition groups.

While detailed rules exist in international conflicts, this is not the case with domestic unrest, it said.

The relief organisation will look at how best to tackle the challenge when the resolution is put forward on Thursday during the four-day 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

"On the whole, international humanitarian law remains appropriate for regulating how parties to a conflict must behave," said Philip Spoerri, director for international law at the ICRC.

"However, in our consultations with states prior to this conference, we identified weaknesses in the legal framework that we want to address.

"In particular, there is a need to improve protection for detainees in non-international armed conflict and to strengthen international mechanisms to monitor whether the rules are respected or not."

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement -- made up of the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies -- meets for its international conference every four years.

© 2011 AFP

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