DOHA, Qatar, Mar 3 – A Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) lecture, reiterated the call to protect journalists and media personnel, who are performing their duties in conflict zones worldwide.

QRCS International Relations Head, Dr Fawzi Oussedik, delivered the lecture, titled: “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL): Convergence or Divergence?” to staff from the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, here.

“By virtue of their status as civilians, no journalists shall be the object of attack, unless they take a direct part in hostilities. Any violation of this prohibition shall constitute a serious breach of the Geneva Conventions and

Additional Protocol (I).

“All applicable laws stipulate adequate protection of journalists, which forms a firm and tangible basis for preventing any harm to war correspondents, while doing their work at war zones,” he said.

He reviewed different approaches to the concept of human rights, as well as, its historical and modern legal backgrounds.

He explained the origin of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems, related back to political and historical circumstances that culminated in the creation of these symbols, to ensure protection for civilians and medics at times of war.

He highlighted the fundamental principles governing humanitarian interventions, particularly humanity, impartiality, neutrality, voluntary service and unity.

In relation to the IHL-granted protection, the lecturer said, IHL considers the status of reporters in conflict zones and provides for their safety, in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, which expressly cover journalists in Article 4 A (4) of Geneva Convention (III) and Article 79 of Additional Protocol (I).

These two articles, he emphasised, imply that the protection provided by IHL is absolutely comprehensive.

Most importantly, Article 79 of Additional Protocol (I) states that, journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions, in areas of armed conflict shall enjoy all the rights and protections enjoyed by the civilian population

Source: QNA