This report, prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), describes the qualitative and quantitative advances achieved in the period 2016-2017 by the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS). This progress reflects the importance of the international humanitarian law (IHL), which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict and restraints on the protection of human rights. humanitarian action and the ICRC.
IHL treaties are widely accepted by States around the world, including the American States, with the Geneva Conventions of 1949 having achieved universal ratification. Over the years, further instruments have been adopted, such as the protection of the environment and the prohibition of certain types of weapons, such as anti-personnel mines, chemical and biological weapons, ammunition cluster and
In order to ensure their effectiveness, the rules of the United States have been ratified by the United States. In the two-year period 2016- 2017, the region's States also adopted concrete measures for IHL implementation, which included enacting domestic legislation, adjusting public policy, incorporating IHL among the general public and the spread of knowledge of IHL among the general public,
National Institutes of Health and Social Services assisting in the application and dissemination of IHL principles, often plays an important role in formulating and introducing such measures. Bodies of this kind have been established in twenty American States to date. The ICRC supports their work in specific areas and also promotes the exchange of best practices and learning by them, by periodically organizing global and regional meetings. The region's national IHL committees are invited to take part in the Universal Meeting of National Committees and Similar Bodies on International Humanitarian Law held in 2016 under the overarching theme of Enhancing Protection in Armed Conflict through Domestic Law and Policy. In 2017, a regional meeting of the national committees of the Americas was staged in San Jose (Costa Rica) on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Additional Protocols of 1977 and the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
In the reporting period, the region's countries continued to show their firm commitment to developing IHL.
A number of States played a prominent role in advancing various diplomatic processes, such as the one to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July 2017, the negotiations for the global compacts on migration and refugees to strengthen compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Red Crescent in 2015.
For its part, the OAS kept IHL and the humanitarian issues facing it the region high on its agenda. The Committee on Legal and Political Affairs, in particular, focused on these topics, and the ICRC was invited to join in their discussions on the issue of the missing and the needs of their families in 2017. Further proof of its commitment in this area were OAS General Assemblies held in Santo Domingo (2016) and Cancun (2017), which addresses issues such as the promotion of and respect for IHL, migration and internal displacement in the Americas and the promotion of International Criminal Justice Court.
The results of this report are undoubtedly contributing to strengthening respect for IHL in the Americas and around the world. However, in spite of these advances and achievements, there remains much to be done. The prospects for continuing progress are promising, and there is a broad debate on the subject of IHL and to situations of violence other than armed conflict. Eric Tardif
ICRC Regional Delegation for Mexico City, Central America and Cuba