Today, the Inter-Ministerial Commission of Humanitarian Law, the Belgian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross organize the Conference: “War in cities: Searching for practical solutions to the contemporary challenges”, in collaboration with the Belgian Society for International Law. During his speech, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense Didier Reynders will insist that countries further strengthen their commitment to the protection of civilians in city wars and the respect for international humanitarian law.
For centuries, vast battlefields were the scene of armed conflict. Cities were sometimes besieged or plundered, but the fighting rarely took place within the city itself. Contemporary armed conflicts however, almost always take place in cities. City centers and residential areas are the new battlefields.
Warfare in urban areas presents us with complex challenges, also when it comes to the implementation of the rules of international humanitarian law. Civilians are the first to pay the price of the terrible consequences of urban conflicts. It is more than likely that cities will remain the scene of armed conflict, making it all the more necessary to reduce the suffering of the civilian population and respect international law.
The conference offers the opportunity to speak with representatives of countries, international organizations, renowned academics and practitioners on the humanitarian challenges that these conflicts entail.