The first “Forum on Humanitarian Action Rooted in Islam and International Humanitarian Law,” opened today at the International Humanitarian City, IHC, having been organised by the IHC, International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, and the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC.

Yehia Khalil, Deputy Head of the ICRC regional delegation in Kuwait, noted, “This forum, which is the first of its kind in Dubai, tackles the related principles of the rules of international humanitarian law and those deeply rooted in Islam on ways of easing the suffering of victims of war, particularly wounded combatants and prisoners of war.

“The forum is also an opportunity to raise awareness among the participants about the ICRC’s neutral and independent humanitarian action in the region.” Some fifty representatives from various local government and non-government institutions and charities, international organisations and aid agencies are taking part in the forum.

“We are pleased to join the ICRC and the NRC in hosting such an informative forum,” said Shaima Al-Zarouni, Chief Executive Officer of the IHC.

Participants will discuss topics including general and specific methods for protection of persons and property in times of armed conflict, the basic principles governing the means and methods of warfare, and the dangerous consequences that can arise when health-care personnel and facilities are targeted. Ways of improving compliance with international humanitarian law and related rules of Islamic law will also be explored.

“The forum presents us with an opportunity to underline the similarities between the relevant principles of Islam and international humanitarian law in the light of conflicts currently taking place throughout the world, and particularly in the Middle East region,” said Mario Stephan, Gulf Office Director of the NRC.

More than half of the ICRC’s current humanitarian work, in terms of resources it has committed, are being carried out for conflict victims, prisoners, displaced people, families of detainees or others requiring aid in the Middle East. The ICRC has held similar events in Afghanistan, Yemen, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.