International Humanitarian Law: Winners of an Essay Competition awarded cash prizes
A prize giving ceremony to reward winners of an essay competition on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) organised by the Prime Minister’s Office was held yesterday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Port Louis.
Targeting public officers, the competition was launched in August 2016. A total of six entries were received. The essays were assessed by a panel comprising an Associate Professor from the University of Mauritius, the Regional Legal Advisor of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and a Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office and three best essays were chosen.
The first prize has been awarded to Ms Varoona Ghoorbin who received a cash prize of Rs 15 000. The second prize (Rs 10 000) went to Ms Kamla Devi Hurry and Mr Prithiviraj Seetohul won the third prize (Rs 5 000).
Were present at the prize giving ceremony representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office as well as a delegation of the ICRC who is on an official visit to Mauritius from 25 to 28 October 2016.
In her address, Ms Sarah Swart, Regional Legal Advisor of the ICRC, Pretoria, commended this laudable initiative and pointed out that only two to three countries on the African continent have such essay competitions. She suggested that the essay competition could be extended to a larger audience such as students.
Visit of the ICRC delegation
The delegation comprises Ms Perrine Louart, Head of the ICRC Delegation, Antananarivo; Ms Sarah Swart, Regional Legal Advisor of the ICRC, Pretoria; and Mr Charles Sagba, Legal Advisor of the ICRC, Geneva.
Several workshops and bilateral meetings are on the agenda. A half-day workshop for youth officers was organised on 25 October for Youth Officers at the Helvetia Youth Centre. The aim was to sensitise the youth on the issue of IHL and the work done by humanitarian aid workers in situation of conflicts and natural disasters. The idea is to expose the youth not only to human sufferings caused by conflicts but also to issues such as respect of life, human dignity and civic responsibility.
On the institutional front, around 400 newly recruited police officers will participate, on 26 October, in a half-day induction course at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture in Phoenix. An IHL exchange with judges, magistrates and barristers is also on the agenda. This two-day workshop will be held on 27 and 28 October at the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies in Port Louis.
The delegation will also have meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and members of the National Humanitarian Law Committee, the Police, and the Mauritius Ports Authority. The discussions will focus on the Arms Trade Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Ammunitions, and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Furthermore, the experts from ICRC will pay courtesy visits on the Prime Minister, the Secretary for Home Affairs and the Permanent Secretary from the Prime Minister’s Office and will also meet the Commissioner of Police.
Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organisation, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
The ICRC works closely with the National Humanitarian Law Committee of Mauritius for the promotion of IHL as well as adopting necessary IHL instruments. It has assisted Mauritius in domesticating Conventions like the Arms Trade Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The ICRC also helps Mauritius by providing capacity building on the different Conventions that the country domesticates.