General Debate - 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Statement made by Ambassador Shri Puneet Agrawal, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva

at the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

(11 December, 2019, CICG, Geneva)

Madam Chair,

On behalf of India, I would like to extend our warm felicitations and congratulations on your appointment as the Vice-Chair of the 33rd International Conference. We thank the ICRC President Peter Maurer, and IFRC President Francesco Rocca, and their able teams, as well as the Standing Commission for their tireless efforts in preparing for this important Conference.

The Conference is timely, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the four Geneva Conventions. We believe that IHL and the existing mechanisms remain the most appropriate framework for regulating the conduct of parties to armed conflict and providing protection for the persons affected. The need of the hour is to improve the existing mechanisms to ensure greater respect for IHL.

Madam Chair,

We take note of ICRC’s report on contemporary challenges to IHL. The technological developments hold great promise but they may also present risks for civilian protection and may challenge the rules of IHL. It is undisputed that any new technology of warfare must be capable of being used in strict compliance with IHL.

Madam Chair,

The impact and creation of new vulnerabilities in terms of factors such as climate crisis, large-scale health threats, alongside with protracted armed conflicts and violence necessitates immediate humanitarian action.

While the efforts of the Movement to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in distress is laudable, however, such activities should be in accordance with domestic laws and regulations, and complementary to, and not duplicative of, the work of the State and other agencies. The effects of forced migration as a consequence of disasters also need to be addressed.

Likewise, climate change is too complex an issue and is the subject of serious and intense deliberations at various international fora. It is our view that the Movement should focus on the need to mitigate the adverse impact of environmental degradation, which also subsumes climate change, encourage members to prepare and proactively plan for such contingencies, and build its capacities.

Madam Chair,

Today, the biggest threat to human dignity emanates from terrorism. There can be no justification for terrorism and no alibi for terrorist acts. Often attacks against States have been conducted by non-State actors, such as armed rebels, insurgent outfits and terrorist organizations. It is important that humanitarian actors work in accordance with the applicable legal frameworks and not provide legitimacy, even inadvertently, to the armed terrorist groups.

We admire the efforts and the dedication of the staff and volunteers of the Movement in their noble mission, often in difficult and dangerous situations.

Madam Chair,

We thank the Chair for her apt intervention in preventing misuse of the platform of the Conference by one country in violation to Article 11.4 of the Statutes and Rules of Procedure of the Movement.

Finally Madam Chair, India looks forward to productive deliberations during the Conference. Thank you.

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