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I am delighted to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today published the United Kingdom Government’s first ‘Voluntary Report on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law at Domestic Level’.
The publication of this report reflects the UK Government’s determined commitment to the proper implementation of, and compliance with, International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This is a vital responsibility of all States. IHL is the manifestation of the long-standing determination of the international community to limit the effects of armed conflict. In an age where IHL continues to be violated frequently by both States and non-State parties to conflict, it is critical to reinforce these fundamental humanitarian rules that form an integral part of the international order in times of conflict. We are proud of our strong record of IHL implementation and compliance.
The Voluntary Report aims to explain in a single document the key steps that the United Kingdom has taken at a domestic level to implement IHL. Publishing specific examples of our practice to implement IHL is intended to help improve understanding of IHL, and encourage and inform dialogue on IHL issues both at home and abroad. We hope it will encourage other States to publish details of their activities to implement IHL at the domestic level, to better identify best practice and ultimately to improve implementation and compliance with IHL.
I am grateful to the United Kingdom National Committee on International Humanitarian Law for leading the compilation of this Voluntary Report. The British Red Cross, in its capacity as an auxiliary to the UK Government, deserve special thanks for assisting the FCO with the production of this Voluntary Report.