On 7 and 8 December, Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), the Iranian Centre for Comparative Studies on Islam and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organized an international conference in Qom, Iran, to celebrate ten years of collaborative research on humanitarian principles in Islam and international humanitarian law in Iran. Both Presidents of ICRC and IRCS delivered their speeches on the occasion of opening ceremony and talked about what this conference hopes to accomplish.
The conference gathered together prominent IHL experts from many National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Islamic scholars and other religious leaders, totally from more than 20 countries in Qom to have dialogues for dispelling misconceptions and identifying shared values, particularly with regard to the protection of human dignity in situations of armed conflict.
"Holding this international conference in Qom, in fact is prominent point in this particular period of time, which can be taken into account as a serious step toward the current situation and also can be a suitable action in line with transmitting and conducting the message of peace, friendship and Islamic kindness in the world and Islamic world," said Dr. Seyed Amir Mohsen Ziaee during the inauguration ceremony of the conference. "Deal with special and related issues in the field of IHL, reflecting the approaches toward related issues with usage the credible sources and texts in order to prove the truthfulness of Islamic opinions and jurisprudence concerning the human kind and humanity has a significant importance. This will be met and realized through dialogue, Islamic scholar endeavors and their serious efforts in this regard,"
At the end of his speech, President of the Iranian Red Crescent Society and National Committee of Humanitarian Law thanked and appreciated all taken measures and efforts for holding the conference, in particular the efforts of the Comparative Center for Islam and IHL and thanked the supports of the International committee of Red Cross, as well.
"I'd also like to thank the foreign scholars and experts who've travelled from more than 20 countries, to celebrate with us the 10th anniversary of the dialogue between humanitarian and Muslim scholars on common humanitarian values in Islam and International Humanitarian Law," said Dr. Peter Maurer in the opening ceremony of the conference. "This comes at a very important time, with so much human suffering, destruction and polarisation in the Middle East, affecting people not only in this region, but far beyond, as well,"
"Religious leaders play a vital role in strengthening respect for human dignity, especially in times of protracted conflicts and polarization. When respect for positive law is in crisis, as it is today, religion can play an important role in upholding key values and minimum standards. For instance, in the protection of civilians, in the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, and in ensuring humane treatment for displaced persons, migrants and asylum seekers. For the ICRC, it is established practice to engage with religious leaders, listen to their advice and seek their support,"
ICRC President believed that IHL experts and specialists of Islamic Jurisprudence will make an outstanding contribution to the universal acceptance of IHL and its underlying humanitarian principles.
During the two days of the conference, participants were encouraged to put political and ideological differences aside and to consider the event as an opportunity to listen to each other with an open mind and a strong good will so that they can all benefit from each other's academic knowledge and skills.
Since 2006, the Iranian Red Crescent and the ICRC have jointly supported the academic work of the Centre for Comparative Studies on Islam and International Humanitarian Law and this conference was also an important milestone for the Iranian Red Crescent, ICRC and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.