The principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) have been a foundation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since its inception.
This set of rules seeks to prevent human suffering in periods of conflict, focusing on people who are not, or are no longer, participating in hostilities. The rules cover wounded combatants, non-combatants, medical personnel, prisoners of war, and Red Cross and Red Crescent workers. The fundamental premise of IHL is that it protects applies to everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, political persuasion, culture or social status.
International Humanitarian Law is applied only during times of armed conflict. Once an armed conflict has begun, the rules are applied equally to all sides, irrespective of who initiated the fighting.
Common examples of the application of IHL would include the prohibition of firing at doctors, ambulances, or a person or vehicle carrying a white flag, red cross or red crescent. Accordingly, the rules are required to be respected by parties on all sides. Those protected by the white flag, red cross or crescent are expected to maintain neutrality, and are not to participate in war-like activities.
National Societies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent are mandated to disseminate knowledge of the law. The Jordan National Red Crescent Society incorporates IHL into many of its training programmes, such as Youth and Community Based Health programmes.
IHL is a powerful tool to encourage positive change. The Rules advocate peace, tolerance, mutual understanding, prevention of violence and conflict resolution. These principles are incorporated into many subject areas, which can reinforce important life skills such as communication, team work, reasoning, research, problem solving and critical thinking.
Read more about International Humanitarian Law on the ICRC website.