August is considered as the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) month. The IHL — or the law of armed conflict — is a set of rules that seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict. And by virtue of Executive Order 134 of 1999, the Philippines celebrates IHL Month every August, with the 12th day being designated as IHL Day.

In celebration of the IHL month, the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) –  through its Ateneo Internationalization for Mindanao (AIM) Office, International Studies Department, and the Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy (APILA) – and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) co-organized the first hybrid International Learning Session on the topic of International Humanitarian Law.

The resource speaker for this learning session is Ms. Sahar Haroon, the Regional Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia and Japan of ICRC. During her talk, Ms. Haroon defined IHL as a universal set of rules that accepts that wards happen. It aims to protect human dignity and reduce suffering by putting limits on how wars are fought and protecting people who are or are no longer fighting. She also differentiated IHL from the International Human Rights Law (IHRL). Later on, she also shared some of ICRC’s initiatives, mandates, and approaches.

After the discussion, a panel of reactors gave their insights on the topic. The panel was composed of students and faculty members from ADDU, namely: Atty. Arnold Abejaron (Prosecutor, Davao City); Ms. Krizza Janica Mahinay (Faculty, International Studies Department); Daniel Dave Gomez (3rd Year, AB Political Science); Francheska Alivio (4th Year, AB Political Science); and Mikaela Balagot (4th Year, AB Political Science).

The learning session was attended by over 200 participants from ADDU, its local and international partner institutions, government organizations, media, and other stakeholders. To conclude the ILS, the closing message was delivered by Mr. Michael Oyan – the Head of Sub-Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Davao. He hopes for more collaboration between ADDU and ICRC in the future.