International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross

Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada

In This Issue:
Libya: ICRC Makes Urgent Call for Access to Wounded
Japan: Red Cross Red Crescent Movement Sets Up Website to Reunite Families Affected by Earthquake and Tsunami
International Review of the Red Cross: Environment
ICRC News from
Around the Globe
Updated Publication -
How Does Law Protect in War?  

How Does Law Protect in War

The third edition of "How Does Law Protect in War" is a selection of nearly three hundred case studies provides university professors, practitioners and students with the most up-to-date and comprehensive selection of documents on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) available.
The publication also contains a systematic overview of IHL that presents the most fundamental and contemporary legal issues arising in armed conflicts, and a series of course outlines for professors interested in setting up courses on IHL or in introducing its study into their teaching.
The first English edition, published in 1999, was updated in 2005. This third English edition contains some 60 new cases and documents reflecting the most recent practice and the section on Teaching International Humanitarian Law has been considerably enhanced.

Our World At War in the Lone Star State
DRC - Ron Haviv, Our World At War
Our World At War, brought to Texas in collaboration with the American Red Cross Greater Houston Area Chapter (GHAC) will remain on display at South Texas College of Law (STCL), located at 1303 San Jacinto Street, downtown Houston, until April 4. 
The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Saturdays 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Groups of 10 or more should call (713) 646-2915 for a reservation.
For more information on exhibit events and details, visit the GHAC website and the STCL website. STCL events are available for CLE credit.
Upcoming Events
May 19-20
4th Annual National Security Law Junior Faculty Workshop/IHL Training held at the Army JAG School, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
June 27 - July 7: 29th Course on International Humanitarian Law organized by the ICRC and the Polish Red Cross and held in Warsaw, Poland.
May 09-27: Ouidah/Bénin
June 13-24: Geneva/Switzerland
July 11-29: Baltimore/USA
July 11-22- Hawaii/USA
Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P) Courses a multicultural and multidisciplinary learning experience created to enhance professionalism in humanitarian assistance programmes conducted in emergency situations

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The ICRC is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. 
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News and Notes
March 2011 

This month the ICRC Regional Delegation for the United States and Canada brings you news from Libya, Japan and about the International Review of the Red Cross, the academic journal published by the ICRC and Cambridge University Press.
As events continue to unfold in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere, the ICRC remains focused on the plights of civilians while adapting its operational responses. In Afghanistan, we are witnessing a security situation for ordinary Afghans that has dramatically deteriorated. The Middle East and North Africa have become increasingly volatile, with significant humanitarian consequences. Below, we highlight the work of the ICRC in Libya.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is also responding to the disasters that have befallen Japan. A section of this newsletter explains how we are working to reconnect families in that country.
In this issue, we highlight the International Review of the Red Cross. The IRRC, as it is known, is a scholarly journal whose most recent edition focuses on the environment. Within this section we present two interviews. The first is with Claude Voillat, Economic Advisor to the ICRC, who for four years has worked on environment issues for the organization. The interview touches on our approach to environmental issues as well as his involvement in this edition of the Review. The second interview is with the new Editor of the Review, Vincent Bernard. Vincent shares his thoughts on the current edition of the IRRC, humanitarian issues he intends to highlight; and future directions for the Review.  
As always, please write us with your thoughts and feedback.
Kind regards,
The ICRC Washington Delegation
Libya: ICRC Makes Urgent Call for Access to Wounded
The ICRC has been present in eastern Libya since shortly after violence broke out a month ago and stands ready to further increase its humanitarian activities. Over the past several weeks, the ICRC has provided support to local medical teams, has carried out visits with detainees in Benghazi and has provided assistance to displaced civilians fleeing the violence. The ICRC continues to help people at the Egyptian and Tunisian borders contact their worried families.

As international forces launched airstrikes in Libya, the ICRC, in accordance with its mandate, called upon all parties - the international forces, the Libyan government forces, and the armed opposition - to abide strictly by the rules and principles of international humanitarian law. Persons not directly participating in the hostilities - including civilians, as well as combatants who surrender or who are no longer capable of fighting because they are wounded or have been captured - must not be attacked and must be treated humanely. "The parties must take all precautions, including in their choice of means and methods of warfare, to avoid as far as possible harming civilians," said Yves Daccord, ICRC Director-General.

Nevertheless, there has been no respite for civilians living in battle zones in Libya. Heavy fighting continues between government troops and the armed opposition and access for humanitarian aid agencies remain restricted in most parts of the country. "We urge the parties to the conflict to allow humanitarian organizations safe access to war-affected areas and to enable medical personnel and ambulances to reach the wounded," Daccord said.
Tunisian Red Crescent volunteers register family details of people fleeing the internal armed conflict in Libya.Among the tens of thousands of people who have arrived since February at the Tunisian border, many have not had the means to get in touch with their loved ones at home. Since the crisis began, the ICRC has worked closely with the Tunisian Red Crescent to provide free phone service, and some 27,000 phone calls have been made by nationals of 30 countries to reassure worried relatives or contact their countries' embassies. Together with the Libyan Red Crescent, the ICRC also organized the safe transfer of a group of more than 500 foreign nationals and their families from Benghazi to the Egyptian border.
Please see Flickr for more ICRC photos from Libya.
Japan: Red Cross Red Crescent Movement Sets Up Website to Reunite Families Affected by Earthquake and Tsunami
Thousands of people in Japan and elsewhere lost contact with family members because of the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The ICRC, working closely with the Japanese Red Cross, launched a special Family Links website to help people seeking to re-establish contact with family members and friends missing since the earthquake and tsunami.
"An initial survey carried out in conjunction with the Japanese Red Cross Society revealed that large numbers of foreigners - in particular Brazilians, Chileans and Peruvians - were living in the areas affected by the disaster," explained Olivier Dubois, deputy head of the ICRC's Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division. As a result, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish have been added to Japanese and English on the website maintained in collaboration with Red Cross and Red Crescent partners around the world.
People in Japan can register on the website to inform their family and friends that they are safe and provide their current contact details, while those looking for people can check the list for information. They can also register the names of missing family members and friends, encouraging them to get in touch. For more information on how to use the service, members of the public can contact their nearest Red Cross or Red Crescent office.
International Review of the Red Cross: Environment
International Review of the Red Cross: Environment
The International Review of the Red Cross is a quarterly published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Cambridge University Press. It is a forum for debate on international humanitarian law and humanitarian action and policy during armed conflict and other situations of violence.
The most recent edition focuses on the environment. The edition begins with an interview with Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and continues on to take a look at climate change and its impacts on societyinternational legal protection of the environment during armed conflict; water, international peace and security; and climate change, natural disasters and displacement; amongst other topics.
The two interviews below concentrate on the ICRC's approach to the environment and how the ICRC intends for the Review to further debate on important humanitarian issues in the years to come. 
- CLAUDE VOILLAT is Economic Advisor for the ICRC. For the past four years, he has worked on the connection between humanitarian action and environmental degradation. 
Claude, the ICRC has included a section on the environment in its 2011 - 2014 strategy. What does this mean?
The ICRC needs to deepen its understanding of phenomena such as climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters. Understanding these phenomena also helps better capture what is happening in terms of conflict, migration and urbanization. These issues represent a large bulk of humanitarian problems facing civilians today. By better understanding them, the ICRC aims to improve its response to humanitarian needs.
Can you tell us what this means in terms of ICRC activities? Is the ICRC going to be a climate change activist?
The ICRC has already taken some concrete steps to factor the environment into its response. For instance, in 2009 it issued its "
Framework for Environmental Management in Assistance Programmes." Last year, the ICRC made a proposal to strengthen legal protection for victims of armed conflict. This proposal has four main areas, of which one is protection of the natural environment.
These are concrete, practical steps aimed at addressing the humanitarian needs caused by environmental degradation in conflict. Our competence is not carbon emission levels, there are scientific and policy experts who debate these matters; rather our entry point will always be the humanitarian consequences we see and react to on the ground. 
The most recent edition of the International Review of the Red Cross highlights the humanitarian debate on the environment. What can you tell us about your role in this edition, and what it means to you to have the ICRC bring attention to this issue?
I took pleasure in helping the editor work on this edition of the Review. We shared our thoughts on the structure, subjects, and individuals and organizations who could contribute interesting points of view. I enjoyed interviewing
Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, in particular because of his clear interest in bringing a number of perspectives to bear on his work, not just from Europe and North America, but also African, Asian and Latin American voices.
For me personally, this edition of the Review is very welcome. Environmental degradation is creating more and more of the humanitarian needs of today and tomorrow. The connection between humanitarian work and the environment is not necessarily obvious. While responses to environmental degradation cannot only be humanitarian, indeed may be primarily political, economic and social, I think it is very important for an organization such as the ICRC to so publicly bring attention to fact of this connection.

An ICRC water and sanitation team looks at the damage to a micro hydro-electric plant owned by a local man from Baykhanae village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

- VINCENT BERNARD was named Editor of the Review in November 2010.
Vincent, why did the ICRC decide to highlight the issue of environment in the current issue of the Review?
We decided to highlight the issue of environment because humanitarian actors have to be prepared to deal with the consequences of these events. Over the last two decades the number of disasters has doubled from approximately 200 to over 400 per year. The ICRC sees the humanitarian consequences on communities in the countries where it works. Increased climate variability and greater intensity and frequency of weather events aggravate humanitarian needs in emergencies and lead to stresses on access to essential resources like food and water, displacement of populations and increased tensions among communities and states.
The immense disaster affecting Japan today is yet another terrible illustration of our vulnerability and the fragility of the environment on which we all depend. The nuclear accident which followed the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of March 11 has provoked a worldwide debate on the use of nuclear power because of its potential damage on health and environment.
The international community has to address the problem globally. Humanitarian actors have also a role to play in the response to disasters and in improving the resilience of communities. This edition of the Review aims at contributing to a better understanding of the humanitarian, political and legal implications of growing threats to our environment.

Can you tell us what role you think the Review can play in shaping debate around humanitarian policy and law?
In the coming years, while maintaining our position as a top journal in international humanitarian law, I would like for the Review to become a reference on current humanitarian debates.
In the US, the journal is well known in military training institutions and among JAGs, thanks to our well-established partnership with the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School (TJAGLSC) and the Library of Congress. However, statistics show that the Review is not well known by the academic community and political actors. With our publisher, Cambridge University Press, we are working on a strategy to increase the Review's readership and authorship. We think it is important that researchers in the United States and around the world can share their perspective and enrich their work with points of view from other continents. We think this improves our mission to promote knowledge, critical analysis and the development of the law and of humanitarian action.

What issues do you intend to highlight in forthcoming editions?

We are currently working on two editions on the conflict in Afghanistan. These will be out in the coming months. Afghanistan is not only the longest conflict in American history. For the Afghan people, it is a 30 year continuous war. The situation poses tremendous military and political challenges and is also a test for humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law. The Review highlights the complexity of the Afghan context, the challenges it poses in terms of protection of war victims and humanitarian action.
The June edition will focus on non-state armed groups. Whether they are labeled as "terrorists" or "freedom fighters", armed groups are parties to various conflicts and as such need to be taken seriously. Today, the ICRC sees the most significant humanitarian challenges of the day in situations of non-international armed conflicts. This edition will focus on the rules applying to non-state armed groups, which must be better respected. If these rules are applied, the conditions of millions of people will improve.
In the coming months, I am also planning to address the issue of the future of humanitarian action, assessing current changes in the humanitarian sector. Finally, cyber warfare and new warfare technologies are subjects the Review would like to explore.
Again, more contributions from academics, specialists and practitioners are highly encouraged!
Why did you decide to become Editor of the Review, and what is your vision for the publication in the coming years?

I first encountered international humanitarian law during my legal studies. I found it a fascinating subject, especially because of its deep links with history, politics and the military. Since then, I have always been engaged in improving its respect through promotion or education. I taught the subject at University. I worked for its dissemination and integration with states, civil society and armed actors in my field missions with ICRC in Africa and the Middle-East. My last position was head of the ICRC field communication, a formidable network of people working around the world for the prevention of violations of the law and better access to victims in the field.

In its nearly 150 years of existence, the ICRC has developed a unique expertise of the evolving reality of conflicts and other humanitarian crises, a principled humanitarian response and a special role in the development of legal tools to improve protection of war victims.  
We want the Review to reflect this unique combination of expertise, at the crossroad between field realities and academic research. We aim to better understand current humanitarian affairs with a view to improving humanitarian and legal responses. In the coming years I would like the Review to foster debates among specialists and provide a space to represent the perspective of actors and researchers from countries that we don't hear enough about. I am particularly interested in views from countries affected by conflict or from emerging powers, which will have an impact on how war is waged in coming years.