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Slovenia hosts consultations on topical issues in international humanitarian law

  • Ministrstvo za zunanje zadeve

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 16 and 17 October, Slovenia – as the current holder of the EU Council presidency – hosted virtual consultations between the Slovenian, Austrian, French, Dutch, and German international humanitarian law committees and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Portugal. The consultations focused on topical issues in international humanitarian law with a view to strengthen regional cooperation.

The consultations were opened by Marko Rakovec, the Director-General of the Directorate for International Law and Protection of Interests and Legal Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia. The keynote speaker, Helen Durham, the Director of International Law and Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), stressed that consultations of this kind are vital to raising awareness about the importance of promoting, respecting, and implementing international humanitarian law (IHL). The talks were headed by Mateja Grašek, the Chair of the Slovenian IHL Committee, and Julie Tenenbaum, the ICRC Regional Legal Adviser. They focused on comparing the structure of national committees and their respective mandates, strengthening international cooperation, and addressing future challenges. They also touched on topical issues in international humanitarian law, such as climate change and armed conflict as well as protection of the environment during and after armed conflict. 

Representatives of national committees and various platforms underlined the importance of holding regular national committees meetings both at the regional and national levels, including during the presidency. A diverse configuration (representatives of the government, national Red Cross associations, and academia) is essential for a proper functioning of committees. The consultations constitute a good starting point for continuing cooperation between the Slovenian IHL Committee, other national committees and namely the ICRC. The ICRC expressed its full support and appreciation to Slovenia for the organisation of the consultations. The event also provided an opportunity for the promotion of Slovenian institutions (ITF), scientists (Dr Kajfež-Bogataj) and achievements, such as encouraging the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution recognising that a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a human right.