UNITED NATIONS - The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Tuesday that 70 years after countries adopted the Geneva Conventions to limit the barbarity of war, the terrible suffering in conflicts today shows they are not being respected.
Peter Maurer told a U.N. Security Council meeting marking the anniversary that continued violations of the rules in the conventions doesn't mean they are inadequate, "but rather that efforts to ensure respect are inadequate."
"We can — and must — do more. You can do more," he told the 15 council members.
The four Geneva Conventions were adopted on Aug. 11, 1949, and have been universally ratified by the world's countries.
The first three were revised from earlier treaties to update rules on protecting the wounded and sick in the armed forces on land and sea and prisoners of war. The fourth was the first-ever treaty specifically dedicated to protecting civilians in times of war. A new provision is now included in all four conventions to provide protections in conflicts that aren't between countries, such as civil wars and those involving armed groups not affiliated with governments.
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