Kathmandu (ICRC) – The 7th South Asian Regional Conference on International Humanitarian Law, jointly organised by the government of Nepal and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will be held in Kathmandu from 20 to 23 August 2017. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is also closely involved because of this year’s theme: protecting cultural property during armed conflict.

Experts from a number of organisations, and around 40 high-level government officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are attending the conference. Yagya Bahadur Thapa, Nepal’s minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs, will deliver the inaugural address.

The conference provides a platform for discussing good practices for protecting cultural property in armed conflict, as well as related opportunities, challenges and practical and procedural requirements.

André Paquet, head of the ICRC’s mission in Nepal, said, “With all the conflicts going on around the world, States needs to spread awareness of international humanitarian law – also known as IHL or the law of war – and parties to conflict need to abide by it. Wars have limits. Unnecessary suffering must be prevented. When cultural property is destroyed, the community loses part of its identity.”

Nepal is hosting the conference for the third time after the inaugural edition in 2009, and again in 2014. Bangladesh, the Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have also hosted, covering themes such as how to effectively implement IHL, encourage States to become party to IHL treaties and adopt legislation implementing those treaties.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organisation whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

For further information, please contact:
Krishna Chalisey, ICRC Kathmandu, tel: +977 1 4107285 or +977 98510 00602
or visit our website: www.icrc.org

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