Top-level dialogue between ICRC and AFP assured
ICRC, AFP sign terms for top-level dialogue
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross signed the Terms of Reference (TOR) for a series of dialogues about the promotion and monitoring of the implementation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in the country.
The dialogues are included in the Semi-Annual Meetings considered the highest working-level venue for discussions, recommendations and deciding IHL issues between the AFP and ICRC.
“This partnership manifests the AFP’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and the rights of victims of armed conflict,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos, Jr.
The terms of reference were signed yesterday at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations (CMO), OJ7 details the creation and the procedures for different working groups that will act on decisions and recommendations resulting from the meetings.
Included in the discussion were matters about the conduct of hostilities in densely populated areas, missing persons, management of casualties, treatment of captured persons, and protection and respect for medical mission staff, patients, facilities and transportation means.
In a statement, Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, AFP’s Deputy Chief of Staff for CMO, signed the agreement with Boris Michel, ICRC Head of Delegation, signed the Terms of Reference.
It will be recalled the AFP and the ICRC established a series of ad hoc, semi-formal meetings under the auspices of ICRC Protection Coordinator, OJ7, and the AFP Human Rights Office as a result of a dialogue after the 2013 attack in Zamboanga City.
From 2016, the meetings were held quarterly until 2018 when the AFP and ICRC adopted the twice-yearly formal for the high-level discussions.
“We thank the ICRC delegates for taking this journey with us. With your help and constructive vigilance, we are confident that we will be able to stay on a straight and narrow course towards upholding the principles of human rights and IHL in all levels of our operations,” General Santos, Jr. further said. (Melo M. Acuña)
ICRC Head of Delegation Boris Michel (left) and Brig. General Benedict Arevalo, Asst. Chief of Staff for J7, AFP (right) signed the Terms of Reference for top-level dialogue on a number of important issues about International Humanitarian Law. (AFP/ICRC Photo)