Take an interest in international humanitarian law with the Canadian Red Cross

Topics: International Humanitarian Law
January 30, 2014

Take an interest in international humanitarian law with the Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is one of the largest charity organizations in Canada. Through generous donations and the help of hardworking volunteers, the Canadian Red Cross is able to provide relief and aid in the wake of emergencies and disasters, both within Canada and internationally. Canadian youth who want to make a difference can do so through the Red Cross.

One way youth have made a significant difference through the Canadian Red Cross is by learning about and promoting awareness on issues related to armed conflict and emergencies, and their impacts on vulnerable populations. International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules that limit the effects of armed conflict on a local population. It helps protect individuals who aren't participating in the conflict, while allowing humanitarian organizations - such as the Red Cross - to carry out their work in providing aid. It's important to spread awareness about international humanitarian law and its significance to both human life and dignity - this way, combatants may learn to respect and abide by these rules.

The Canadian Red Cross disseminates information on IHL by hosting events on the principles of international humanitarian law to youth via college and university conferences, which interested Canadians are welcome to attend.

Youth in action
Nearly 7 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, making it the epicenter of one of the largest humanitarian emergencies in the world. As with any conflict this large, the information pouring out of news outlets can be confusing and overwhelming. Too often, the public doesn't hear about the civilians impacted by the conflict. To help reduce confusion and raise awareness about humanitarian law and what Canadians can do for the civilians in Syria, the Canadian Red Cross decided to hold a conversation in a forum easily accessible to youth.

On October 3, the Canadian Red Cross hosted an hour-long Twitter chat using the hashtag #CRCSyria to help the Twitter community learn more about the Syrian Crisis, including the impact of humanitarian law on the conflict. A group of experts were onboard for the conversation, including Hossam Elsharkawi (@elsharkawi), director with the International Operations team of the Canadian Red Cross, and journalist Hamida Ghafour (@hamidaghafour), a foreign affairs reporter at the Toronto Star and author who specializes in the Middle East. The conversation was moderated by Red Cross social media team member Christine Pantazis (@CPantazis).

The Twitter conversation was a big success, and the transcript of the chat can be viewed online. Because of their accessibility, social media platforms like Twitter are great forums for Canadian youth to come together, discuss and spread the word about humanitarian law. The #CRCSyria discussion is just one example of how youth can reach out and make a difference.

You can make a continuing difference in the world by helping the Canadian Red Cross realize its humanitarian goals. Donate today either online or at your local Canadian Red Cross office.