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ECOWAS Standby Force holds workshop on International Humanitarian Law
 Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC.
Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC with Colonel Major Seidou Maiga Morou on his left and Colonel Pale Ollo Alain on his right

ECOWAS in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Crescent and the Red Cross (ICRC)  commenced a five day workshop on 17th October 2016 in Abuja Nigeria, with the aim of incorporating International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law into the training and operations of the ECOWAS Standby Force-ESF.

The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs.Halima Ahmed, during her opening remarks delivered by Colonel Ollo Pale, Head of Mission Planning and Management Cell (MPMC) of the ECOWAS Directorate of Peacekeeping and Regional Security, stated that the workshop affords the ESF and the ICRC a unique opportunity to collaborate in order to further educate personnel involved in Peace Support Operations.

The Commissioner noted that the workshop had become necessary due to a series of reported cases of the violation of the tenets of International Humanitarian Laws and International human rights laws.pic-1

‘This  underscores the need for personnel of the ECOWAS Standby Force to be well grounded in IHL and IHRL’, she said.

Similarly, the President of the ICRC, Mr.Peter Maurer highlighted that due to asymmetric warfare which has led to more unconventional tactics being adapted by belligerents in the region, members of the ESF need to be able to conduct their military duties within the ambits of the law.

‘For troops to be able to conduct their military duties within the ambits of the law, they need to understand not only the text and purpose of the law, but also how these laws are translated into actual practices in the field’, He said.

The workshop will familiarize participants with the basic principles of IHL and its operational meaning, the protection of civilians in the conduct of hostilities and the inclusion of relevant legal concepts into the planning of military operations.pic-7

The ESF is a multidimensional  regional  force, which has been well trained and  equipped in order to respond to internal or external regional crises, threats to peace and security, or environmental threats.

Participants of the ECOWAS- ICRC facilitated workshop include the ESF Chief of Staff, Colonel Major Seidou Maiga Morou,  the Headquarters  Task Force, military personnel from ECOWAS member states and officials from the police and civilian components of the ESF.

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