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Geneva II - Geneva Call meets the delegation of the Syrian opposition

Geneva Call met with members of the opposition delegation participating in the Geneva II Conference on Syria. Geneva Call discussed with the delegation the possibility of making a position statement on key humanitarian issues calling on all parties involved in the Syrian conflict to take necessary civilian protection measures, including:
  1. Allowing and facilitating the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid
  2. Protecting civilians and civilian property
  3. Prohibiting the recruitment of children under 18 and their use in hostilities
  4. Refraining from the use of prohibited weapons, and ensuring that weapons are not used indiscriminately
  5. Respecting the rights of prisoners and the prohibition of torture.
The delegation expressed interest in such a statement. Geneva Call will follow up this initiative, and continues working with all stakeholders to contribute to enhancing the respect of international humanitarian norms in Syria.

For the last two years, Geneva Call has been engaging Syrian armed non-State actors on humanitarian issues, and provided training on international humanitarian norms. Recently, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) – a Syrian Kurdish armed group - expressed its readiness to sign Geneva Call’s Deeds of Commitment.

A number of formal measures have already been taken by the YPG, notably a military order on 14 December 2013 prohibiting the recruitment of children under 18 years old. The YPG reportedly released 17 children that had been associated with its armed forces after making this declaration.

You can read this military order here:

Philippine armed group about to sign a Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the Government 

The Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) - an armed movement that had been fighting for decades for a separate State in Mindanao -  have announced that they have cleared the last obstacles to the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. This closes a period of 16 years of negotiations and paves the way for greater autonomy for the Bangsamoro people. Geneva Call would like to congratulate all those who have been involved in such peace efforts.

The MILF was among the first signatories of Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning anti-personnel (AP) mines in 2002.

The peace agreement makes reference to this pledge and states that “[b]oth Parties commit to uphold the Deed of Commitment under Geneva Call for Adherence to the Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action signed by the MILF on 7 April 2002”.

Geneva Call welcomes the insertion of this provision and is confident that the peace agreement will improve the lives of the civilian population caught up in the conflict.

Geneva Call’s activities in the Philippines continue. Geneva Call recently supported the dissemination of General Order no. 3 - which incorporates the obligations of the Deed of Commitment into the MILF’s code of conduct - through trainings and distribution of thousands of booklets in five community languages.

In 2014, Geneva Call will engage the MILF on the protection of civilians against sexual violence and the promotion of women’s rights and their participation in decision-making processes.

To read more about our activities in the Philippines:

Geneva Call brief the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians in New York

As a leading organization in the engagement of armed non-State actors on humanitarian norms, Geneva Call was invited - thanks to the Swiss Mission - to brief the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians (a group of 15 UN member States chaired by Switzerland) on its work. The briefing took place the day before the Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
During the debate, a number of States reiterated in their statements the importance of engaging armed groups towards compliance with international humanitarian law to enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

While in New York, Geneva Call also met several key stakeholders, in particular the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF as well as the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, to exchange views and discuss areas of cooperation.
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