The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Monday launched an International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Handbook.

Written and designed by the Tonga Red Cross Society with the assistance from Australia is received with appreciation by the Legislative Assembly.

Lord Tu’ivakano said it was designed specifically for the Members of Parliament to be aware and respect for International Humanitarian Law.

The Handbook is a set of rules which seeks to reduce or limit effects of war or armed conflict on people and objects. IHL is also widely known as the law of war or law of armed conflict. Its key objectives are:

  1. Do not attack people who do not, or are no longer, taking part in armed conflict.
  2. Do not use weapons that make no distinction between civilians and combatants; and
  3. Do not cause unnecessary suffering or damage.

In addressing guests, Lord Speaker said Tonga has not been involved in armed conflict since World War II. However, His Majesty’s armed Forces have been deployed to multi-national conflicts including Iraq, Afghanistan, Bougainville and the Solomon Islands.

He added it is important that they understand and apply the rules of IHL

“It will be educational for the Tongan community to understand the International Humanitarian Law and the responsibilities and role of the Tonga Red Cross during times of war,” said the Lord Speaker.

He also pledges to the Tonga Red Cross Society and Australia Red Cross that as Members of Parliament they will take action to promote respect and appreciation for International Humanitarian Law by:

  1. Ensuring the State is a party to IHL Treaties.
  2. Creating and Implementing Legislation.
  3. Protecting the Emblems and assuring they are not misused.
  4. Spreading knowledge of IHL to respective electorates.

The handbook has been translated into Tongan and Lord Tu’ivakano said he is looking forward to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga working in partnership with the Tonga Red Cross Society in promoting respect and awareness of International Humanitarian Law.

Cabinet Ministers, MPs and Secretary General of Tonga Red Cross Society, Mr Sione Taumoefolau, a delegate of the International Committee of Red Cross Mr Nima Dadbin and Ms Annabel McConachie of the Australian Red Cross were among invited guests that attended the program.

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