Red Cross Humanitarian Law Program
Friday, 19th October 2001 at 1:10 pm
In a rather unusual twist, considering Australia’s current controversial refugee debate, the Federal Government has approved a grant of $120,000 to assist the Australian Red Cross Society in disseminating information about international humanitarian law!
The principles of international humanitarian law are designed to protect the victims of armed conflict. They provide protection to those who are not, or are no longer, taking part in fighting, such as civilians, medical personnel and wounded soldiers. They also restrict methods of conducting war that are indiscriminate or cause unnecessary suffering.
Australia is a party to the Geneva Conventions regarding international humanitarian law.
The Federal Attorney General, Darryl Williams says Australia has an important obligation to disseminate the principles of international humanitarian law as widely as possible to civilians and the armed forces. Australia’s partnership with the Red Cross greatly assists in fulfilling this obligation.
The Howard Government has increased funding from $45,000 to $120,000 per year, starting in 2000-01.
The Attorney-General says this increase has allowed officers dedicated to the dissemination of international humanitarian law principles to be employed in every Australian State and Territory significantly enhancing the ability of Australian Red Cross to promote the principles of international humanitarian law throughout the community.
He says a great many Australian defence force personnel and aid workers are deployed in countries that are experiencing or have recently experienced armed conflict. The maintenance of an increased funding level recognises the Australian Red Cross’ ongoing commitment to ensuring that these men and women are well prepared for Australia’s ever-increasing role in situations of armed conflict.