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Geneva Convention - Brief History Of Laws made for Armed Conflict Between Nations

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Throughout the history of mankind, wars, and the events, consequence, and changes related to them have been subjects that are studied with both curiosity and dread. They are important to learn about as it tells us how deep and long-lasting the impact of wars is and how much the world is affected by violent conflicts that arise between countries or races or tribes. Economies, social and cultural norms, religions, and mindsets of generations to come are affected whenever war is waged.

However as the awareness of the dire results of armed battles has grown among humans, there have been many attempts to lessen the violence and horror connected to them made by international communities. Geneva Convention was one such effort. It was basically a series of meetings attended by international diplomats that produced several agreements, among which the most prominent was the Humanitarian Law of Armed Conflicts. This is basically a number of laws recognized internationally for treating the captured or wounded military, civilian or medical personnel in a humane way, during any battle or armed clash.

The agreements were originally made in 1864 and were updated in 1949 after World War II was brought to an end. During much of what we know about human history, the rules of warfare have rarely proved to be very merciful or fair for everyone involved. Some civilization did show compassion for the ones found wounded, captured or the innocent and helpless civilians, but most conquering nations wreaked torture and slaughter of whole villages and towns without sparing anyone.

In 1859, a a businessman from Geneva by the name of Henry Dunant traveled to the headquarters of Emperor Napoleon III situated in northern Italy to ask for land rights to start a business. He found himself caught in many different circumstances then he had hoped for as he witnessed the after-effects of the Battle of Solferino, which was an extremely violent conflict fought for Italian independence. The suffering he saw created such an impact upon Dunant that he wrote a complete account of it in 1862, titled A Memory of Solferino. But the book wasn’t merely a description of the horrific events. Dunant also put forward a solution which was that all nations must come together to assemble relief groups of trained volunteers who can treat people wounded in warfare and to offer help to all those who have endured the trauma of war.

His solution was welcomed and heard and a committee was created in Geneva, which included Dunant himself, to explore ways of implementing the ideas he proposed. In October 1863, 16 countries sent their delegates with military medical experts to Geneva for discussing the terms of a humanitarian agreement during wartime. The meeting and the treaty that resulted from it and was signed by twelve nations is known as the First Geneva Convention.

Although Dunant was the pivotal piece of the early efforts that finally lead to the creation of the Red Cross and he continued his attempts to work for the prisoners and all those affected by war earning him the first Nobel Peace Prize, he sadly lived a life full of poverty. But till the end, he never stopped standing up for what he believed was the right thing to do.

The fight for the rights of war impacted people continued and in 1906 the government of Switzerland called for a conference that included 35 states for the purpose of reviewing and updating the law made in the First Geneva Convention.  The amendments offered protection for captured and the injured of a warfront along with the medical experts and volunteer groups sent for their treatment, transport, and removal of the killed or hurt.  It also made the repatriation of individuals captured during the war a recommendation instead of compulsory. The rules made in this convention were replaced by the ones made in the first one.

After WWI, it was apparent that the convention of 1906 and the Hague Convention that occurred in 1907 did not have much effect. In 1929 more updates were made to progress the civilized treatment of war prisoners. These new changes insisted upon better treatment of the people involved in the war and also laid out a set of rules for the daily lives of the ones captured. The International Red Cross was established as the main organization that would work neutrally to collect and transmit data about the prisoners, or injured and killed during a battle.

With the growth of nations, wars have become an inevitable occurrence. When we study history or law we come across it repeatedly. Most of us, especially students might find it a subject riddled by unpleasantness. But assistance in the form of law essay writing service London is an excellent option when you need to write an informative piece about wars and laws that have made up the history of the world as we know it today.   


Michael Hussey Michael Hussey is a digital marketer and blogger. He writes about motivation, education, and personal development, mostly about career help. He hopes to make a good difference in the lives of people by sharing society related relevant stories and blogs also by his personal journey.
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