A visiting of the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tehran and Secretariat of National Committee on Humanitarian Law was held on Tuesday 28th October, 2014.
In the first part of the program which included visiting office of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dr. Pouria Askary, the Legal Advisor at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tehran, welcomed the attendees and expressed his gladness for the remarkable scientific level of the participants. Afterwards, he introduced the office of the International Committee of Red Cross in Tehran and gave a brief background of its duties. He mentioned that humanitarian relief is one of the main duties of the office in Tehran; however, this role of the office owing to the remarkable activities of the Red Crescent is pale. Although, they profit from Iranian territory in providing humanitarian reliefs to the other countries. He also revealed that each year the International Committee of the Red Cross put some special subjects on its agenda; this year’s focus is on “attacks on humanitarian staff”.
Following the speech, a video clip was displayed on introducing the International Committee of Red Cross, its objectives, principals and activities throughout the world.
Mr. Olivier Martin, the head of office of the International Committee of Red Cross in Tehran, stated that this is the second time we are observing the attendance of students and scholars in our office, which this time the number of attendees is remarkably more than the last time that is pleasing. After this brief introduction, Mr. Martin discussed his memories of twenty years of experience of working in the International Committee of Red Cross. In his speech that commenced with telling about the beginning of his activities in 1992, he tried to answer this question that why, he, as a citizen from Switzerland, accepted to work miles away from his home in countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi?
Then, Mr. Martin revealed the answer to the earlier question that he main factor was his personal interests. He continued his speech on the difficulties and challenges facing in the years of his activities within the International Committee of Red Cross. The most important challenge was the genocide of Rwanda, which led to leaving his duty and working as a banker for three years. By the end of his speech, the attendees asked various questions related to his activities and tasks in the International Committee of Red Cross.
To complete Mr. Martin’s speech, Dr. Askary commented on some remarks including child soldier, demining, the basics for presence of Red Cross in the territories of states and etc.
Mrs. Tiva Kamran, senior assistant of communication and publications of the office, made some remarks on the creation of the International Committee of Red Cross and talked about Henry Dunant, the founder of Red Cross as well as the symbol of the Red Cross. According to given comments, the international movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent are formed from three institutions: 1. The International Committee of Red Cross; 2. The national societies of Red Cross and Red Crescent; 3. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Each one of these institutions have their own duties and functions.
During international or non-international armed conflicts, the International Committee of Red Cross is responsible for coordinating among these institutions, whereas national groups are the helpmates of the states. The International Federation was formed after World War I for coordinating among national societies.
She also explained the emblems of this movement which under four Geneva Conventions, are the Red Crescent, the Red Cross and the Red Lion and Sun. According to the third additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions (1977) the emblem of Red Crystal has been recognized too.
After this speech, the second film that was an animation based on the book of A Memory of Solferino by Henry Dunant on roots of creation of the Red Cross and the third film which has been made some remarks on the Committee, national societies and the Federation were displayed.
Mrs. Eva Puhar, the coordinator in the office of the International Committee of Red Cross in Tehran, discussed the notion of “protection” in the activities of the Committee and explained that the notion of “protection” refers to ensuring that the parties are committed to their commitments, preventing or ending the violation of humanitarian law and concentrating on the conditions and reasons for violations. She considered wounded or sick combatants, prisoners and civilians (women and children) as the persons who ae in need of aid and specified that protection actions include maintaining family ties, visiting the detainees and improving the conditions of civilians.
Afterwards, Mrs. Mozhgan Mohammad from public relations and communication section introduced the project of “Health Care in Danger” that was launched in 2011. This project aims to prevent violence against health-care centers, workers and patients during the armed conflicts.
The last interlocutor, Mr. Dehghan, the head of support and services section, illustrated the duties of this section that is providing free supplies and services. He revealed that at the moment the major mission of ICRC is in Syria and Iraq.
At the end of the first section, attendees visited the library of the International Committee of Red Cross and Mrs. Kamran explained the conditions of borrowing books from this library. Some books related to international humanitarian law were diffused among the participants.
The second section of this program was allocated to visiting the Secretariat of the Committee on Humanitarian Law, which commenced with visiting the Peace Museum. Later, Mr. Roozbahan and Mrs. Kusha, the Committee’s experts, gave some explanation on how the Committee created: The National Committee on Humanitarian Law was created in 1998 after the proposition which has been given by the head of International Committee of Red Cross with the aim of expanding humanitarian law in national level. Five ministry including ministry of Defense, Health, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Interior Affair have their delegates in this Committee. The Committee holds its sessions once in each three months.
At the end of the program, the attendees visited the library of the Secretariat that is one of the most completed libraries on humanitarian law. Some books were presented to the participants and some others were borrowed by the attendees.
After serving launch, the second section came to an end.
The remarkable attendance of participants in this program that lead to the acquaintance of scholars with two rich libraries on International Humanitarian Law, encourage the Iranian Association for United Nations Studies to hold more alike visits. Further information on these sorts of visits would be released on the website of the Association.