Delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) yesterday held a consultative meeting with Members of Parliament and the Speaker of the House to deliberate on issues that will enhance the domestication of the treaties of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and its additional protocols.
The action is geared towards enabling a full public understanding of treaties codified in the Geneva Convention of 1949, and the review of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society Act of 1962 and make amends where necessary.
During the two hours deliberation, representatives of respective sectors present spelt out reasons for the ratification and review of the 1962 Act.
Jonathan Juana Kamanda the representative of the National President of ICRC Sierra Leone said that the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society has been very proactive since it became a signatory to the Red Cross Movement around the globe.
He said that since the adoption of the Red Cross Movement in Sierra Leone by an act of Parliament in 1962, the society has been acting as an auxiliary body to the government and the military in rendering humanitarian aid at professional level to people in times of war and turbulence.
Mr. Kamanda laid emphasis on the integration of the IHL treaties into our national laws to enable proper understanding of the concept of the rule of law and respect for human dignity.
Head of delegation of ICRC Perrine Loua further supported propositions given urgency for review of the act and it overarching articles, especially articles in the respective treaties which bring together all parities to the conflict.
She commended the contribution of the Geneva Convention since it provides the fundamental legal framework towards saving and serving humanity all over the world. She suggested that a strong national approach is needed, in the form of information exchange and sensitization fora created to enable a massive participation of the general public in efforts to save mankind.
The Speaker of Parliament Justice Abel Stronge in his opening remarks stated that ICRC has been effective since the 1850s making ardent moves to stop acrid human suffering in the world.
He supported the fact that the IHL and the Red Crescent are universal umbrella humanitarian organizations cooperating with governments and donor organizations to create room for a peaceful and friendly society.
These strides have been evident in the creation of skilled labour among youths and other vulnerable groups in our society and therefore assured that “Parliament will do all in its power to domesticate the pending issues raised by the ICRC”