Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ICRC to train Filipino professors to teach international humanitarian law

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 20, 2011) – About 30 professors at the University of Eastern Philippines will be trained in techniques of teaching international humanitarian law by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) this week.

The professors - from the arts and communication, law, business administration, agriculture and various science departments - will receive instruction on July 20 and 21 at the university campus in Catarman town in Samar province.

The training coincides with the school's plan to include international humanitarian law, also known as the law of armed conflict, in several courses of study.

"We believe that future journalists, government officials and civil society leaders should know what this body of law is about, particularly in a country ravaged by decades of internal armed conflict, it is important to have some understanding of international humanitarian law," Evecar Ferrer, an ICRC legal adviser, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

All law schools in the Philippines cover the subject to some extent in courses on international law, while seven universities offer courses specifically devoted to international humanitarian law.

"The training we provide is intended to ensure that the professors are sufficiently versed in the subject to teach it to their students," Ferrer said. "As the guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC supports academic institutions such as the University of Eastern Philippines that incorporate this field of study in their curriculum."

Dr. Hilton Aguja, of Mindanao State University-Iligan, who has been lecturing on international humanitarian law for more than six years, will join Ferrer to lead discussions on the applicability of that body of law, the challenges facing it and recent developments in the field.

They will also suggest various ways of teaching the subject and of designing a syllabus. On July 22, a symposium on international humanitarian law will be held on the University of Eastern Philippines campus for around 300 undergraduate and law students.

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