x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE students to be taught Geneva conventions

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching a campaign to educate children about humanitarian rules in war-torn areas.

ABU DHABI // Schoolchildren and university students are to be taught about wartime humanitarian conventions.

The International Humanitarian Law, which includes the four Geneva Conventions relating to the treatment of prisoners of war and the protection of civilians, will be included in school curricula and taught to students, legal executives and military personnel, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Abdulrahim Alawadi, the assistant to the minister for legal affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said education was the top priority for the UAE's Committee for International Humanitarian Law.

Khawla Al Mualla, a member of the committee from the Ministry of Education, said humanitarian principles were already covered in part by Islamic studies.

"For instance, we have a hadith by the Prophet Mohammed that instructs Muslims not to cut trees or hurt women or children during war," she said.

"However, we need to explain to children that this is not only part of Islam - it is also an international law that the whole world is involved in."

Ms Al Mualla said teaching materials could range from books to films to lectures. "For example, for children we could have a storybook about a young boy who was hurt and then received aid," she said.

The committee also plans to revise laws in relation to new international legislation and agreements.

The committee consists of federal bodies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education.

hdajani@thenational.ae