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ECOWAS, ICRC review implementation of international humanitarian law treaties in West Africa
ECOWAS Director of Gender, Dr Sintiki Ugbe, Eloi FILLION, Head of Delegation, Head of Mission, ICRC, Mrs Stella Anukam, Director

Abuja, 31st October 2017 . The ECOWAS Commission and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have commenced their annual meeting in order to review the implementation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) treaties in West Africa.

The four day meeting which commenced on 31st October 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria is aimed at assessing the measures taken by Member States in implementing the IHL as well as the various tools available to assist them in the IHL implementation process.

Representing the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr.Fatimata Dia Sow, the Director of Gender, Youth and Sports, Dr.Sintiki Ugbe, stated in her opening remarks that ECOWAS and the ICRC have been working jointly on the promotion of the domestication of and respect for the IHL treaties in West Africa.

Dr. Sintiki Ugbe stated that ECOWAS and the ICRC in 2014 had developed an indicators document to guide the implementation of the IHL plan of action by Member States.

‘Our focus will increasingly be on measuring the progress achieved in attaining the important goals set out within the ECOWAS Plan of Action on the implementation of the IHL’, She said.’

The Head of the ICRC delegation to ECOWAS, Mr.Eloi Fillion, reiterated the ICRC’s belief that, ‘to achieve the domestication and full implementation of the IHL rules within ECOWAS Member States, there is a need to continue to strengthen expertise and knowledge in IHL in order to improve coordination and ensure IHL prioritization ‘.

Group Photograph of the participants

“Our hope is that this meeting will also be a platform for further dialogue on the most recent legal and humanitarian challenges faced by the Member States, and an opportunity to assess the recent developments in IHL”, He noted.

Also speaking during the opening of the meeting, the Ambassador of the Republic of Togo to ECOWAS, Mr. Lene Dimban, who represented the chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States & Government, His Excellency Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, highlighted Togo’s efforts towards the implementation of the IHL in order to improve integration, strengthen peace and promote democracy in the region.

The IHL is a set of rules that seeks for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not, or no longer participating in hostilities and imposes limits on means and methods of warfare.

The ECOWAS Commission and the ICRC have been collaborating to promote respect for IHL, through the domestication of IHL treaties into national legal frameworks. One of the key pillars of this collaboration is the Annual Review Meeting on the Implementation of IHL in West Africa, which has been held since 2003.

Also present at the opening of the meeting was the representative of the Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), the African Union, government experts from Member States and Ambassadors to the ECOWAS Commission.

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