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Syria: general commanders of four Free Syrian Army brigades make humanitarian commitments in Geneva


On 14 November 2017, the general commanders of four Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades signed various Deeds of Commitment during a ceremony in the Alabama Room at Geneva town hall in the presence of a representative from the Geneva authorities. The Al-Motasim Brigade, Brigade 51 and the Al-Hamza division are part of the Euphrates Shield and are active in northern Syria, whereas the Al-Watan Liberation Movement is active in the province of Homs and in central Syria.

By signing these Deeds of Commitments, the four brigades committed to prohibiting the recruitment and use of children below 18 years old and to facilitating the provision of medical care and education to children. They also pledged to ban any act of sexual violence against any persons. In addition, the Al-Motasem Brigade and Brigade 51 also committed to banning the use of anti-personnel mines in the conflict.

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Geneva Call welcomes Alain Délétroz, its new Director General


Change of leadership at Geneva Call: after 18 years as Executive President, co-founder Elisabeth Decrey Warner will move on at the end of December 2017. Elisabeth began with a very small, dedicated staff team in 2000, and together they built up Geneva Call into the well-established and respected organization it has become today. The staff and Board of Trustees are very grateful for her dedication and long service to the organization. Elisabeth will, nevertheless, remain involved with Geneva Call, as she will join its Board in January 2018.

After a thorough and professional recruitment process undertaken with the assistance of an outside consulting firm, Alain Délétroz has been selected and appointed by the Board as the new Director General.


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Yemen: first workshop for women from civil society on the law of armed conflict

From 8 to 12 October 2017, Geneva Call organized a three-day training session on the law of armed conflict and a two-day thematic workshop on child protection, the ban on anti-personnel mines and the prohibition of sexual violence in armed conflict. The event took place in Amman, in Jordan, and gathered 17 women representing 16 Yemeni women’s organizations working on peacebuilding, human rights and youth empowerment.

The conflict in Yemen opposing the Houthis / Saleh forces to the Hadi Government, is now in its third year; it has caused more than 5,000 deaths, and around two million people have been displaced. “To increase respect for the law of armed conflict, it is necessary to disseminate these norms, not only among armed actors but also throughout society. These 16 civil society organizations are influential and will disseminate these norms among their communities,” said Mehmet Balci from Geneva Call.

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2017 Garance Talks: the role of armed non-State actors in the administration of justice in armed conflict

On 22 November, Geneva Call held its second session of Garance Talks on the topic of the administration of justice by armed non-State actors (ANSA). ANSAs frequently carry out judicial or quasi-judicial procedures during conflicts. Although the administration of justice is a governmental function, international law asserts that all parties to an armed conflict must ensure a fair trial when passing sentence. However, the enforcement of these rules by ANSAs is a topic that has not been addressed thoroughly by the international community and deserves further attention.

The meeting brought together legal experts and specialized agencies to discuss the challenges faced by ANSAs when they attempt to abide by international law. A high-level military commander from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP), a judge from an area controlled by the Southern Front in Syria and a judge from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) were also present and brought real-life examples directly from the field and faced by ANSAs.

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New study: how to better protect civilians from explosive weapons by armed non-State actors?


On 1st December 2017, Geneva Call released a report entitled “Six armed non-State actors share their policies and practice with regards to protecting civilians from explosive weapons.” This paper identifies some of the initial steps that States, UN agencies and I/NGOs can take to address the challenge of reducing civilian casualties as a result of the use of explosive weapons by armed non-State actors (ANSAs). In 2016, 60 different ANSAs used explosive weapons according to a study led by Action on Armed Violence.

>> Read more and read the study

New partnerships

 
Save the Children
On 24 October 2017, Save the Children and Geneva Call signed a letter of intent to engage armed non-State actors and better protect children in armed conflict. This agreement includes the possibility of leading common projects and establishing closer collaboration both at the field and headquarters levels.

UNESCO
In November 2017, UNESCO’s Director-General informed Geneva Call that she had decided to establish an official partnership with Geneva Call (consultation status). This decision was made to reinforce the collaboration initiated between the two organizations in 2015 and to increase the impact of their promotion of respect for cultural heritage during armed conflict.

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