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International Humanitarian Law and Islamic law in the Syrian conflict


International Humanitarian Law (IHL) experts, provided by Geneva Call, recently conducted two training sessions for members of the Islamic Front, a coalition of several Islamic armed groups operating in Syria. These four-part training sessions were organized by the Qatar Red Crescent.
During the sessions, significant discussion took place with trainees about the differences and commonalities between IHL and Islamic law and how to practically apply these rules on the ground.
Since late 2012, Geneva Call has conducted 10 similar training sessions on international humanitarian norms and the protection of civilians for some 100 commanders and fighters from various Syrian armed non-State actors. The trainers adapted Geneva Call’s standard training modules to the situation and used the booklet “Fighter not Killer”.
Participants at the training sessions have become shocked and restless on discovering that they have violated IHL and Islamic rules during the fighting and have shown a strong wish to correct their mistakes and adapt their methods of combat,” said one of Geneva Call trainers after a session in 2013.
Geneva Call has also provided training of trainers to two Syrian NGOs, which will disseminate IHL standards inside Syria. Specific training was also given to international NGOs working in Syria, addressing specific challenges related to humanitarian operations in territories controlled by armed non-State actors.

To learn more about Geneva Call's activities in Syria:

Dialogue on the protection of civilians with 10 senior Sunni Muslim leaders in Lebanon

At the end of March, Geneva Call had the opportunity to discuss issues related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and situations of armed violence with 10 senior Sunni leaders in Lebanon, including the five Muftis and the Head of the Higher Islamic Shari’a Council. The event was organized at the invitation of the Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon, Ambassador Ruth Flint.
Since the end of the civil war in Lebanon in 1990, there has been frequent violence involving armed non-State actors in the country and the current Syrian conflict is increasing tension. With this meeting, Geneva Call was seeking support from religious authorities for its work in engaging armed non-State actors in the region on humanitarian norms.
Geneva Call’s local partner in Syria and Pascal Bongard,  Head of Operations, presented Geneva Call’s campaign "Fighter not Killer". This campaign explains to the parties to the conflict in Syria the obligations that all fighters have to protect civilians. Geneva Call also detailed the different programmes that are currently being implemented in Syria and Lebanon. The religious leaders welcomed Geneva Call's initiatives and expressed their readiness to facilitate the organization’s humanitarian work in Lebanon.
To learn more about Geneva Call’s activities in Lebanon and Syria:

A report on the European Union policy on children and armed conflict

The European Parliament recently released a report entitled "Child soldiers and the EU policy on children and armed conflict." The report examines and assesses EU policies and action, and suggests options for the EU to make further progress in addressing the problem of children affected by armed conflict.

Amongst other recommendations, the report states that “non-governmental organizations are usually better placed to enter into a dialogue with armed groups” to assist children affected by conflict. This supports the value added of organizations such as Geneva Call and underlines the principle of complementarity which it considers key in its work.

To download this report:
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