Webinar on IHL and the Role of the Diplomat

BIDTI in collaboration with the International Committee of Red Cross Delegation in Sri Lanka organized a webinar on ‘Contemporary Challenges to International Humanitarian Law and the Role of the Diplomat’ on 17th December 2020, which received an overwhelming response from all over the world. Referring to the long association the BIDTI has with the ICRC Delegation in Sri Lanka, Director General (Amb.) Pamela J. Deen stated that taking the relationship to another level, this webinar has been organized, as the first of three events planned.

In the opening remarks, Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage expressed that the role of Non State Actors in armed conflict proves to be a challenge to the application of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Further, mentioned that increasing awareness amongst government officials and the military on International Humanitarian Law must be encouraged.

Panelists of the webinar consisted of former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN and former Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rohan Perera PC, Additional Secretary Bilateral Affairs (West) & Legal of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador A.M.J Sadiq and Regional Legal Advisor of the ICRC for South Asia Ilya Ivanov. The webinar was moderated by Legal Advisor of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka Samindika Elkaduwa.

Ilya Ivanov speaking about the role of the Diplomat in IHL, reiterated that “In practice, it is the Diplomat that creates the avenue for the implementation of International Law”.  Ambassador Sadiq stated that “There is a limited knowledge of IHL amongst the public hence an increase in awareness is essential”. Further, he acknowledged efforts of the BIDTI in disseminating knowledge of IHL, being one of the Institutes within South Asia to include IHL in its academic programmes. While expressing the importance of Diplomacy and the role played by the Diplomat to uphold IHL in the international setting, Dr.  Perera emphasized the need to enhanced cooperation with other stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations and Multilateral Organisations to overcome contemporary challenges to IHL.