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International Humanitarian Law ("IHL"), which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict and to protect civilians and others not taking part in hostilities, is a cornerstone of modern international law. Nevertheless, despite States' universal acceptance of its rules and principles, violations of IHL - and the enormous suffering which this entails - is an ever-present feature of today's armed conflicts. Promoting respect for IHL therefore remains an urgent challenge for the international community.
The European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with International Humanitarian Law ("the Guidelines") were adopted by the Council in 2005, and updated in 20091, to support and reinforce the Union's role in this field. They provide both an overview of the main tools at the disposal of the EU for promoting respect for IHL and a summary of the main elements of IHL aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of its rules and principles, particularly amongst those working within and with the European Union itself. The Guidelines, the first to be adopted at the regional level, provided a visible and practical sign of the EU's commitment to IHL and their adoption was widely welcomed.
In this context, the Report on the implementation of pledges submitted by the EU and EUMS to the 32nd session of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is also available online:
Report on the implementation of pledges submitted by the EU and EUMS to the 32nd session of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ST 11210/19)