Int'l Humanitarian Law day in DC marked with 1st inter-school debate

DAVAO CITY (ICRC/10 August) — Political science and law students from six schools will converge in Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) on 12 August to debate on international humanitarian law (IHL), or the law that limits the effects of armed conflict.

The whole-day debate, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and AdDU, coincides with the annual celebration of the IHL day on 12 August. The inter-school IHL debate is the first of its kind to be held in the Davao region, where various situations of violence occur.

“We believe it is very relevant and timely for the students of Davao to have a discourse on IHL since they will be the country’s future decision-makers. As the promoter and guardian of IHL, the ICRC tries to make the youth appreciate that IHL upholds the measure of humanity in the midst of armed conflict,” said Jean Robert Jorda, head of the ICRC Mindanao sub-delegation.

The inter-school IHL debate will have a category for law schools and another for non-law schools. Pitted against each other are the law schools of AdDU, Cor Jesu College, University of Mindanao, and St. Thomas More; and the arts and social sciences departments of AdDU, University of Mindanao, Holy Cross of Davao College, and University of the Philippines-Mindanao campus.

The students will debate on motions relating to IHL using a modified Oregon-Oxford debate format. Teams who will clinch the elimination rounds will advance to the finals, wherein the winner will be declared champion of the IHL School Debates.

The winning team and their campus library will receive student prizes and IHL books. The runner-up team will also receive secondary prizes and IHL books for their campus library.

Aside from the debate, two other events on IHL will be hosted by the AdDu in the same week. These are the lecture on IHL for students and faculty members on 11 August; and a three-day photo exhibit called “Humanity In War” from 10-13 August at the alumni area.

The two-hour lecture organized by AdDu’s political science department aims to equip students and teachers with basic knowledge of IHL, or the “law of armed conflict.” It will also discuss the activities of ICRC in the Philippines, particularly its humanitarian operations in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the “Humanity in War” exhibit will give viewers a firsthand look into the evolution of armed conflicts all over the world through 40 photos dating back to the 1860s. The inspiring collection, organized in cooperation with AdDu law student council and the Philippine Red Cross-Davao City chapter, traces the history of war and its humanitarian consequences from the American Civil War to modern-day conflicts.

The ICRC is a neutral and impartial organization that assists and protects victims of armed conflicts. It has been in the Philippines for over 50 years, with a permanent presence since 1982. It reminds parties to the conflict of their obligation under IHL to spare the lives of civilians and to treat them with humanity and dignity.

For further information, please contact:
Richard Cubita, ICRC communication field officer, 0920-9516566