Migration and IHL: the essential link to be effective


A new trend is marking an irrational support to torture (46% of Americans support torture) in the name of “safety”. Any act that supposes violation of legal bodies and an outrage to a Rule of Law system seems to be welcome instead of creating a counterbalance framework of security.

A growing trend in favor of ‪torture by an influential country like USA challenges ‪the work of ICRC and makes of IHL a “no man´s land”. Under this context in-depth institutional changes are not enough and the law framework becomes obsolete too.

One of the main role of IHL its the prevention of conflicts and protection to civilians. Clearly is not working. We could even rely on a political or a leadership system that works, which means that the implementation of a legal framework cannot be achieved with accuracy. Ineffectiveness it’s the result and left a legal vacuum that it’s fulfilled with unilateral power interests.

If humanitarian aid cannot be delivered effectively and civilians are not protected the work of the institution becomes useless. Recent situation in Aleppo with an ashamed evacuation process shows that a humanitarian activity cannot be delivered without a new approach in which political influence become key. ICRC cannot afford being just ”assistance” within a chaotic global political system. A relevant role and a correct implementation of IHL need a renewed institution and law framework.

Its imperative to build awareness through political ‪leaders that mainstreaming ‪IHL it´s essential for building global peace.

Here relies the importance of furthering IHL and make of ICRC a pillar of political influence at international level. They should be sanctions for not only violation of IHL but for the active instigation to their violation. Marine Le Pen[1] justifies and support torture without giving legal justifications to IHL violation. Trump see in torture a “good” way for defending American security. However, both leaders are not taking into account the relation migration and respect to IHL. Furthering torture means more instigation to hate, generating more conflicts therefore more migration movements.

Furthering torture generates more migration.

67% of people think civilians would be less inclined to flee if combatants respect the laws of war.Is it proven that there are fewer conflicts in countries when IHL is actively implemented.

There is a contradiction that those leaders are unable to explain, that torture supposes more retaliation, more conflicts and in the end more civilians fleeing their countries. The strong implementation of IHL is also a way to prevent mass flow of refugees.

Instability comes from institutional ‪crisis based on weak ‪leaders, lack of political will for ‪mediation, a‪ IHL  inoperative and  ICRC with no political power to influence the conflict.

To assure its own survival, the humanitarian sector needs to switch towards a stronger political focus. Being an “assistant” of public institutions is not the resilient answer anymore and only by being political relevant is how it could get results. The traditional role of Mediator of the Red Cross under the principle of  Neutrality should be revised. [2]

Aid should be delivered to both parts however with a clear political position in favor of preventing conflicts and boost democracy. Syria´s conflict has shown that it is not enough to deliver aid but a strong work of political diplomacy based on human rights, a renewed legal framework and a more political leadership.    

The goal is a position that defends IHL and universal human rights over governments, not a partisan position. Transforming ICRC in an institution that enforces the power of legality.

The goal should be the prevention of conflicts not the assistance. Is it under that basis that humanitarian aid is just the last resource although it has become the first and essential resource in which dictatorships relies to develop their military strategies.

All pillars are falling down: leaders that boost isolationism, America and Russia military interests in controlling sovereign countries and a growing trend on supporting torture and no protection to civilians irreversible end in a severe global migration crisis.

IHL needs a different approach particularly coming from its budget: 90% of ICRC funds come from governments, which in certain way condition its work and force the institution to respond to a neutral but also weak position in relation to take a political focus with enough strength to influence interested parts.

Education on IHL and an influencer ICRC seems to be the only solid, sustainable and resilient pillar that sculpts a culture around sustainable standards of peace.

*Sculpture Richard Serra

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eUXe5zbR8o&feature=youtu.be


[2] http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/society/icrc-survey_one-in-five-swiss-justifies-torture-of-combatants-/42730250#.WEqPpdliNIc


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s