U.S., Phil troops undergo Human Rights seminar-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Thursday, June 28, 2012
UNITED States and Filipino troops underwent a one-day seminar on Human Rights-International Humanitarian Law (HR-IHL) in Zamboanga City, a military official said Thursday.
The seminar, which was sponsored by the Armed Forces’ 4th Civil Relations Group (CRG), was held Wednesday at Camp Navarro that houses the headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).
Fourth CRG chief Lieutenant Colonel Erwin Alea said personnel from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) areas were among the seminar participants aside from the personnel from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) and Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ).
The TFZ is Wesmincom’s maneuver force based in Zamboanga City.
Alea said Gabriel Anthony Daclan of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Zamboanga Peninsula discussed the Red Cross’ advocacy, which is geared towards integrating IHL into national legislation.
The Red Cross advocacy is also aimed to promote knowledge of and respect for this body of law among local and national authorities, armed and security forces, university students, and civil society.
Red Cross’ efforts brought about a tangible result in December 2009 with the Philippine Government’s signing of a law punishing serious violations of IHL, genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, Alea said it was emphasized during the lecture that the core messages of the law of armed conflict are straightforward: fight only combatants and destroy only military objectives; collect and care for the wounded, whether friend or foe; do not kill, torture or abuse prisoners of war; and, treat all civilians humanely.
Likewise, Red Cross runs its assistance and IHL programs in cooperation with the Philippine Red Cross Society.
The organization also helps the National Society boost its capacity in disaster preparedness and restoring family links.
“Your Armed Forces sees to it that every soldier gives adherence to these laws so that no member of the military will face charges of human rights violations,” Alea said.
The seminar was also in line with the campaign plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” that gives primacy to the HR and IHL. (Bong Garcia)