Prof Dr Lok Raj Baral, social scientist and political analyst, underlined the interrelation between society and law in his inaugural speech at the opening of the Advanced IHL South Asia Academics Platform (AISAAP) held on 17-19 July 2019 in Dhulikhel of Kavrepalanchowk, Nepal. He was speaking at the seventh edition of the programme which aims to provide a forum to academicians for sharing their perspectives on international humanitarian law (IHL). Sixteen participants attended the programme from seven countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Prof Dr Yubraj Sangroula, president of Asian Association of Law Professors, highlighted the significance of IHL, affirming that it is a key source of international law. Andre Paquet, head of the ICRC Mission in Kathmandu, said IHL is extremely relevant as it has a critical role to play in protecting the victims of armed conflicts.

Roshani Poudyal, presents a paper on ‘repression and accountability’ during the working group session ‘Challenges for enforcement of IHL and accountability for violations’. @ICRC, Ajay Yadav

The AISAAP participants included researchers, faculty members, media practitioners, and advocates. They presented papers as part of four working group sessions on ‘Contemporary Challenges for IHL’; ‘Humanitarian Access and Action’; Challenges for Enforcement and Accountability for Violations of IHL’; and ‘IHL in Post-Conflict Scenarios’.

The papers covered a range of topics such as ‘new technological development in warfare’, ‘humanitarian assistance in modern armed conflicts: issues and challenges’, ‘international mechanism to enforce IHL: special focus on ICC’ and ‘four years of transitional justice commissions: policy flaws and role of stakeholders’, among others.

Nameirakpam Bijen Meetei, a lecturer from Assam University in India, thanked the ICRC for providing him key takeaways. “It presented us the opportunities to exchange views on various imperative topics concerning IHL and other conflict issues,” said Bijen. “It was a great platform to learn from highly qualified participants and the enriching papers they presented on some of the most pressing issues regarding the challenges for IHL and law as such.” Bijen presented a paper titled ‘From the Corner: Conflict, Woes and Call for Expanding IHL (Story about Victims in Unregulated and Overlooked Conflicts)’.

Participants from seven countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, attended the programme. @ICRC

Sana Taha Gondol, an IHL researcher from Pakistan, presented on ‘Challenges faced by Humanitarian Organisations in Situations of Urban Violence: A Case Study of Karachi, Pakistan’. For her, the AISAAP stood out as a learning platform with a multi-disciplinary approach that not only provides exposure, but also assists in enhancing the skills of participants by providing a different dimension to think about.