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AFP, ICRC sign terms for high-level dialogue

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City— The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Delagation of International Committee of the Red Cross  sign the Terms of Reference (TOR) for a range of dialogues pertaining to the promotion and monitoring of the implementation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in the country. 

The dialogues are enclosed in the Semi-Annual Meetings considered as the highest working-level venue for discussing, recommending, and/or deciding IHL issues between the AFP and the ICRC.

“This partnership manifests the AFP’s commitment to the promotion and protection of the rights of victims of armed conflict,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr.

The TOR signed Thursday, July 23, at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations (CMO), OJ7 details the creation of  and the procedures for various working groups that will act on decisions and recommendations resulting from the meetings. 

The areas of discussion include 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.

Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, the AFP’s Deputy Chief of Staff for CMO, and Boris Michel, ICRC Head of Delegation in Manila, signed the TOR.

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 following the 2013 attack in Zamboanga City. 

Starting 2016 the meetings were held quarterly until 2018 when the AFP and ICRC adopted the twice yearly format 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 IHL in all levels of our operations,” General Santos Jr said.

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