PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI TO THE UNITED NATIONS
STATUS OF THE PROTOCOLS ADDITIONAL TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS OF 1949 AND
RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF VICTIMS OF ARMED CONFLICTS (AGENDA ITEM 82)
STATEMENT BY MR MWANYULA (COUNSELLOR) BEFORE THE SIXTH COMMITTEE
NEW YORK, OCTOBER 18, 2010
Since this is the first time I speak in the Committee on behalf of my delegation, permit me, at the outset, to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. I wish to assure you of my delegation’s support as you steer the business of the Committee and I am confident that with your expertise, the Committee will have fruitful deliberations.
The Delegation of Malawi aligns itself with the statements delivered by the representative of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and by this delegation on behalf of the African Group. My delegation also expresses its appreciation to the Secretary General for his report number A/65/150 entitled “Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflicts.
My Delegation wishes to stress the importance of respecting International Humanitarian Law during armed conflicts, and in particular, compliance with the provisions of the Additional Protocols not only by State but also by all parties to the conflicts. Malawi, therefore, continues to have keen interest in this agenda item because it considers International humanitarian Law to be of great significance in relations of belligerent parties and the protection of protected persons, including civilians in armed conflicts, who unfortunately constitute women and children, boys and girls. The 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 are part and parcel of the Laws of Malawi. The Additional Protocols are of great importance as they effectively fill the lacuna left by the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Malawi takes seriously the obligation to disseminate the provisions of the Geneva Conventions to the military and civilians alike in peace time. For this reason, Malawi has integrated the whole corpus of International Humanitarian Law into the curriculum and training of its military personnel. The Government of the Republic of Malawi also took a deliberate step by establishing the National Authority on International Humanitarian Law, the primary responsibility of which is to coordinate the dissemination of IHL and its implementation at the national level. The National Humanitarian Law Committee is composed of stakeholders from the Malawi Defence Force, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, the Academia, the Malawi Red Cross, among other important institutions.
Dissemination and integration is one thing and implementation and compliance is another. This is why Malawi is keen to promote the implementation and compliance of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols by educating the military personnel in the fundamental tenets of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols and also on the international law on armed conflicts as well as sanctions against war crimes and crimes against humanity. International Humanitarian Law is an examinable subject in the Malawi Defence Force and its mastery is a strict requirement for promotion for officers. More importantly, exercises and refresher courses for the military as well as civilians are conducted on regular basis within the framework of continuous training and seminars. Furthermore, compliance with IHL within the military is promoted by military legal advisers. Malawi has established a Center for Security Studies at Mzuzu University where International Humanitarian Law is a core subject at all levels.
On the humanitarian treaties front, Malawi ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions during the Special Treaty Event in September 2009. This Convention represents a progressive milestone in the strengthening of International Humanitarian Law insofar as the prohibition of indiscriminate weapons is concerned. You may also wish to note that Malawi also participated at this year’s Treaty Event by depositing, inter alia, an Instrument of Ratification and its accompanying Declaration on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. Malawi has also made significant strides to domesticate the Ottawa Convention that prohibits Anti Personnel Land Mines.
In conclusion, Malawi wishes to reiterate its readiness to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross Societies of different countries in dissemination of International Humanitarian Law and its implementation both at the national and international levels.
I thank you madam Chairperson.