The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been at the forefront of promoting respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) – the rules of war – to militaries and armed groups, governmental authorities, religious leaders and faith-based organisations, academics and civil society around the world. On 8 March 2024,  ICRC in the Philippines launched a book translated from Arabic into Yakan that discusses the convergences between Islamic law and IHL.

Titled “Pangahatul me` Biktima bono`- kuntara Diyalem Undang-undang Katilibut lahat si pagka-manusiya` hal bono` (IHL) Duk diyalem Sara` Islam” (“Protection of the Victims of Armed Conflict in IHL and Islamic Law”), the book was originally written in Arabic by Dr. Abdulghanī Abdulhamīd Mahmūd, a professor of public international law at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. The ICRC worked together with the Basilan State College and Basilan Ulama Supreme Council to translate the book into Yakan, a language widely spoken in Basilan province of Mindanao. The book provides insights into IHL and Islamic Shariah, specifically the protection of civilians during armed conflict.

During the book launching ceremony, the Chairman of Basilan Ulama Supreme Council declared that “Translating international humanitarian law into the local language, especially for the residents of Basilan, will facilitate greater understanding. This is crucial, not only for those living in Basilan but also in other places where our fellow Yakan speakers live and work. When people – especially those from Basilan – read this, they will better understand the rules of war and its alignment with Islamic principles.”

The text is the fourth IHL book that ICRC and its partners in the Philippines have translated from Arabic. In 2021,  ICRC supported the translation one book into Maguindanaon and another Meranao . A third publication was translated into Tausug in 2023. By translating such texts into local languages, ICRC aims to make these resources more widely accessible and inform local communities about the importance of protecting civilians, detainees, the sick and wounded during times of armed conflict and other situations of violence.

Partner schools and madrasah in Basilan will receive free printed copies of the book. Please download the book here.

ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mission that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners.