“Islamic Law and International Humanitarian Law related to armed conflict must be taught in public and private schools in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.” This was one of the common realizations of the participants who attended the three-day certificate course entitled “International Humanitarian Law and Islamic Law related to the Armed Conflict” on September 20 to 22, 2022, at the University Hotel, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
With the aim of raising awareness of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Islamic Law, selected twenty-five religious and Muslim leaders affiliated with various religious organizations, civil society, academe, and other Muslim institutions from Mindanao and Metro Manila participated. During the course, major topics on IHL and Islamic Law were discussed by local scholars and ICRC’s foreign experts.
Atty. Jeffrey Sison (ICRC’s Legal Adviser of ICRC) introduced IHL and classified conflicts with its legal implications, while Prof. Julkipli M. Wadi (Dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies) presented an introduction to Islamic Law on War. ICRC’s Regional Advisor for Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, Dr. Ziaullah Rahmani discussed how both laws shared similar principles especially in protecting civilians and non-combatants during war. He identified contemporary challenges impacting these two laws particularly related to armed conflict. Further discussion on Islam’s protection of detainees was undertaken by Novriantoni Kaharudin (ICRC’s Program Manager for Humanitarian Affairs). How these laws are observed and practiced by Muslims in the Philippines was articulated by Atty. Mehol K. Sadain (main author of “Islamic Law and International Humanitarian Law: Observance and Practice in the Philippine Muslim Conflict Experience). Protection of health care personnel and humanitarian workers in conflict situations in the Philippines was described by the Chief of Medical Professional Staff and spokesperson of Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, Dr. John O. Maliga. Dr. Pamela Muldong, ICRC’s Acting Health Coordinator explained ICRC’s health care in danger initiative and its global approach focusing on the Philippines.
ICRC’s Head of Legal Georgia Hinds discussed similarities and differences as well as the applicability of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law by citing some case studies. Former NCMF Commissioner Aisha Flores-Malayang presented on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, while ICRC Head of Operation Dorsa Nazemi Salman elaborated on how this is being addressed in ICRC. Protection Coordinator Mariko Ivkov discussed ICRC’s work in preserving the dignity of the dead.
The Certificate Course was jointly organized by ICRC-Philippines and UP Institute of Islamic Studies as part of their continuing partnership in promoting IHL and Islamic Law. With various group activities, case studies, and panel sessions, the participants were able to discuss valuable inputs and reflections on the promotion of IHL and Islamic Law in their respective communities.