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Astana, November 10: Yesterday, an international Forum dedicated to humanitarian norms and current global challenges opened in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The Forum is organized by the Regional Office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Central Asia (ICRC) in cooperation with the Eurasian National University (named after historian and ethnologist Lev Gumilev).

The Forum’s principle purpose of is to inform participants on the latest trends in international humanitarian law, facilitate the exchange of views on matters relating to enforcement and implementation throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Continuing until November 13th, the Forum is being attended by representatives of government bodies and academia from all over the Central Asian/Eastern Europe regions.

The ICRC has worked in Central Asia since 1992. It promotes the importance of international humanitarian law (IHL) and its incorporation into national legislation, as well as civilian educational programmes. The ICRC also fosters the permanent integration of IHL into the doctrine, manuals and training programmes of armed forces and approaches polices forces with a similar view to integrating human rights standards applicable to the use of force during social unrest.

In Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, for example, the ICRC visits detainees to ensure that their treatment and detention conditions meet international standards. Based on its findings, the ICRC makes recommendations to the authorities. The ICRC is also helping the Kyrgyz authorities to bring tuberculosis among the prison population under control.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan has continuously emphasized the importance of ICRC activity, respect for international humanitarian law and promotion of its rules.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva. The ICRC is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement along with the International Federation and 186 National Societies. It is the oldest and most honored organization within the Movement, having won three Nobel Peace Prizes in 1917, 1944, and 1963. The Central Asian States’ National Red Crescent Societies are the national components of the Movement. They work together with the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the performance of humanitarian tasks. The IRC’s Kazakhstan office is situated in the country’s ‘second city’, Almaty.

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