“Fighter, not Killer”

6/18/2018

Human protection is not limited toprotecting one’s life but extends to respecting one’s dignity at all times and to exercising as much restraint as possible to allow life to continue when the war is over. This is the purpose of the International Humanitarian Law(IHL) or Law of War.

IHL contains two main sections: the four Geneva Conventions for the Protection of Civilians and The Hague Conventions restricting weapons used during war. However,many violations of this law were committed during the Syrian war because of ignorance of its implementation. In an attempt to narrow the gap, the Coalition organized, with the cooperation with “Geneva Call” “Fighter, Not Killer” two-day workshop in December 2017.

With 21 participants from Syrian civil society organizations, the first day began by the introduction of basic principles of the law and the distinction between this law and the International Charter of Human Rights. Then, points through which trainees can distinguish between international armed conflict and non-international armed conflict were identified. Finally, basic rules of the law were introduced, namely distinction between military and civilian targets, proportionality and prohibition of unnecessary suffering.

On the second day, trainers worked on cases where IHL is applicableand like patients and wounded, civilian detainees, medical and civil defense personnel and civilian targets like schools, bridges and monuments. In addition to the law’s explicit prohibition of forcing civilians to leave their residences. At the end participants learned protected badges and their misuse.

Through the launch of these training workshops, the Coalition seeks to raise the awareness of civil society organizations about the importance of humanitarian standards for non-state actors and their commitment to international humanitarian standards, which helps to alleviate the war on civilians and allow life to return to its former state at the end of the conflict.