The fourth South Asian conference on international humanitarian law by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) which started on Feb 27 and ended on March 1 was attended by all the SAARC member countries including Iran and Myanmar.
The conference aimed to create awareness about the sufferings of armed conflict victims around the world and also to educate countries on issues regarding humanitarian laws and rights. A Bhutanese delegation headed by the director of the bureau of law and order under the home ministry, Karma Tshering Namgyal, attended the conference.
The last ICRC conference was hosted by the Maldives.
“The ICRC has the moral of discussing on bilateral issues, not between two countries but between the ICRC and a country,” said Karma Tshering Namgyal. While Myanmar requested a bilateral meeting with Bhutan to learn about the prison act of Bhutan since they are in the process of preparing a prison act themselves and they wanted to adopt a few provisions in their act.
Issues discussed were the rights of the prisoner to have the necessary facilities such as access to news paper, television, library and conjugal rights.
At the end of the conference, a situation analysis was done from which the ICRC is expected to make a complete report of the conference, referring to the positive inferences of the conference which could be replicated in other countries.
Although it was not decided where the next ICRC conference would be held, Karma Tshering Namgyal said that Bhutan will definitely be participating.