9th International (Virtual) Conference on International Humanitarian Law and Refugee Law

The Centre for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Institute of Law, Nirma University hosted the inaugural ceremony of its Flagship Conference, Ninth International (Virtual) Conference on International Humanitarian Law and Refugee Law on January 13, 2021.

Major General Nilendra Kumar, Former Judge Advocate General, Indian Army; Shri Keshav Kumar, Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Gujarat and Dr. Adam Dubin, Professor, University of Comillas, Spain were the distinguished guest speakers at the event. The event also marked the august presence of Dr Anup K. Singh, Director General, Nirma University and Ms. Gauri Talwar, Refugee Status Accommodation Associate, UNHCR.

Shri Keshav Kumar:  Adequate Care from ‘Womb’ to ‘Tomb’

The Director, ACB – Gujarat, gave his views on the interesting topic of Police and Humanitarian Forensics. Humanitarian Forensics deals with proper and dignified management of dead bodies and facilitating their identification. He discussed the roles of the various parties like the locals and the police who function as the first and second responders, respectively. The function of these parties is to rescue/ help rescue teams, identify victims, preserve the body and eventually manage the disposal in a dignified manner. He discussed laws relating the management and disposal of dead bodies.

He also enlightened the participants about the various types of procedures available for successful identification of dead bodies. He emphasized that police personnel should be trained in the domain of humanitarian forensics. He also suggested that requisite funding and attention should be provided for humanitarian forensics.

Major General Nilendra Kumar: “There is a general lack of understanding of IHL in the armed forces.”

Major Kumar gave his views on the Importance and Challenges of the Geneva Conventions. He stated that this is the only law which provides protection to the injured, unarmed and civilians in armed conflicts. He highlighted that a major hurdle is the effective implementation of this law during armed conflicts. Since the principal operators are men in uniform, they must know about the International Humanitarian Law. A major challenge is that these provisions are primarily Euro-centric and cannot be understood by laymen.

In the Indian context, he highlighted that challenges such as absence of transparency, lack in dissemination of knowledge and not being a party to certain instruments of acceptance act as a hurdle. As a solution, he suggested that the text of these laws should be simplified and translated in Hindi or languages which can be understood by the officers of the armed forces. Moreover, these laws should be taught during the training of the armed forces as well as in universities.

Prof. Adam Dubin – “Access to Justice is crucial for implementing Human Rights.”

Professor Dubin talked about access to justice as a primary human right. He emphasized that people lack access to justice, especially marginalised communities and people involved in conflicts. Access to justice is a central component and helps in effectuating human rights. He suggested that policies should be reviewed on a periodic basis, keeping in mind the fluctuating situations of the marginalised communities.

Ms. Gauri Talwar, Refugee Status Accommodation Associate, UNHCR talked about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and how they have been denied access to justice by several nations.

Earlier, Prof. (Dr.) Purvi Pokhariyal, Director and Dean, Institute of Law, highlighted the need of understanding and exploring the area of IHL. Prof Anviksha Pachori, Centre Head of IHL and organiser of the conference talked about the themes and aim of the conference Mr. Shubham Vijay, Student Chairperson, Centre for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, delivered the vote of thanks.

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