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International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a part of International Law that seeks to curb the aftermaths of armed conflict. The law largely safeguards the fragile countries which do not take part in hostilities such as civilians, the wounded, unwilling and abandoned, or apprehended warriors. On the other hand, the law also governs the norms and procedures of warfare for the countries who take part in hostilities by prohibiting the weapons or wiles of such a nature that cause superfluous devastation and unwarranted hardships. This law is also known as the law of armed conflicts or the law(s) of war.
Use of Force
According to the customary law and the charter of the United Nation, if one party uses the force against the other it must have the legitimate reason for doing so. The party using the force must have to confirm that the force is used to maintain or restore peace and harmony or it is used in pursuant of self-defense against an armed attack. But International Humanitarian Law applies independently without the questions of legitimacy. It binds on all the parties to the armed conflict equally without considering the legality to the resort of the force. In other words, Every party in a conflict has the same rights and responsibilities towards one other without concerning the lawfulness of the use of force.
The justification for the above separation between the application of International Humanitarian law and the United Nation charter governing the use of force is for both humanitarian and practical reasons. On the one hand, the parties to the conflict will always differ with one another on whose cause is just and who resorted to the force lawfully. On the other hand, the victims of the conflict are in the necessity of the same protection.
International and Non-International Armed Conflicts
IHL classifies two categories of armed conflicts one is international and the other is non-international armed conflict.
According to Article 2 to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions provides that International Armed Conflict ‘apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them’. In simple terms, whenever there is a resort to hostile armed forces between the two states there is an armed conflict. In such a case, the intensity or threshold of such force is very low. For e.g. a single border confrontation between the armed forces of two states or the capture of an individual soldier may lead to international armed conflict. Moreover, the act of a private person does not constitute an international armed conflict unless such a person works on behalf of the state.
On the other hand, common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention talks about non-international armed conflict, which takes place when there is a conflict between Government authorities and an organized armed group within a state. For constituting the non-international armed conflict there must be the fulfillment of two criteria (a) the armed violence must last for a long time with great intensity of violence. (b) there must be the existence of organized groups. For e.g. confrontation between state forces.
However, there is a difference between internal disturbance and non-international armed conflict. Non-international armed conflict requires certain criteria to be fulfilled which differs from internal disturbances, riots, terrorism, etc. Therefore, banditry, disorganized or short-lived insurrections, or terrorist activities are thereby excluded from the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Humanitarian law does not attract these aspects.
Challenges in Classification
Certain complex situations have challenged the classification of armed conflicts. They neither come under international armed conflicts between two states nor under non-international armed conflicts between government armed forces and armed groups within a state.
There are no provisions for a situation of using the force by the state against a non-state actor on the territory of another state raises a question whether it comes under international armed conflict or there must be the existence of an armed group of both the state to constitute it an international armed conflict. Moreover, we all are aware of the fact that foreign interventions in various forms and degrees are common which creates hurdles to tackle the situation efficiently and effectively.
There is also a situation in which both international and non-international armed rebellion coexist. In 2011, there was an international armed conflict between a number of NATO member states against the State of Libya under the Gadhafi administration alongside a distinct non-international armed conflict between the administration and armed opposition groups taking place in Libya. However, The Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Project (RULAC) does not make separate provisions for these types of dichotomous armed conflicts.
There is a need to control the proxy forces. Sometimes the state in addition to using its own armed forces control the local armed groups acting on another state territory by financing, training, and supporting those groups. This situation seems like a non-international armed conflict as it is between the territorial state and the local armed groups. However, in actuality, this situation is an international armed conflict between the territorial state and the state that supports the armed groups as the latter has overall control over the local armed group of that territory.
It is to be noted that the purpose of IHL is not to prevent war between the countries but it aims to limit the sufferings caused after the war. Due to certain complexities in a legal framework, the inadequacy of the distinction between the international and non-international frameworks is still a question. There are only two recognized classifications. Certain explanatory illustrations are required to elucidate each armed conflict. But none of them carries a legal significance. There is a need for a proper framework and to introduce new laws that help to tackle these situations in a satisfactory manner and to serve humanity in a decent way.
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“If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on Earth can take that happiness from you”.
“Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears”.
“Rivers never go reverse, so try to live like river, forget the past and focus on future”.
” Do everything with a good heart and expect nothing in return and you will never be disappointed”.
” If you feel like you’re loosing everything. Remember that Trees, lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come”.
” Be thankful for everything you have and every trouble you don’t have. There are so many people out there struggling to survive. Everything you have is a blessing. For some people, success is just about finding a meal to eat that day”.
- Before You Speak – Listen.
- Before You Pray – Believe.
- Before You Spend – Earn.
- Before You Write – Think.
- Before You Quit – Try.
- Before You Die – Live.
According to the World Health Organisation, over 8 lakh children under the age of five died in India due to issues related to malnutrition. Adequate Nutrition is essential for human development. Malnutrition includes both undernutrition as well as over-nutrition and refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in the intake of energy, protein and/or other nutrients.
Malnutrition in children occurs as a complex interplay among various factors like poverty, maternal health illiteracy, diseases like diarrhoea, home environment, dietary practices, hand washing and other hygiene practices, etc. Low birth weight, episode of diarrhoea within the last 6 months and the presence of developmental delay are often associated with malnutrition in most developing nations including India.
While Malnutrition and Infant Mortality Rates remain high, the budget allocated for minors, constituting 40% of India’s population remains at a meagre 4%. For example, in the village of Damodar Mohuli in Bihar, the only anganwadi in the village has been non-functional for the past 6 months. The anganwadi worker has not received her salary for this time period, and doesn’t open the centre due to lack of food and medicines. The children are suffering as a result.
A sound foundation is critical for the overall development of a human being. In fact, 90% development of the brain occurs within 5-6 years of age. Thus, to ensure a right start to life, early childhood care and learning is exceedingly important. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is one of the largest public service schemes in India catering to the need of children below the age of 6 years. This scheme, implemented from 1,974 onwards, has the potential to have the most comprehensive coverage.
Reasons for malnutrition
- A low intake of food
Some people develop malnutrition because there is not enough food available or because they have difficulty eating or absorbing nutrients.
- Social and mobility problems
There are actors that can affect a person’s eating habits and potentially lead to malnutrition, such as disability to move, limited cooking skills etc.
- Digestive disorders and stomach conditions
If the body does not absorb nutrients efficiently, even a healthful diet may not prevent malnutrition.
Types of malnutrition
Children are defined as wasted if their weight- to- height is way below the standard ratio set by WHO.
Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Children are defined as stunted if their height-for-age is less than standard ratio.
An underweight person is a person whose body weight is considered too low to be healthy. If a person is underweight, their body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to build healthy bones, skin and hair.
CRY (Child Rights and You) realises this issue and works at the grassroots level with its partner organisations to ensure that communities become aware about malnutrition and informed about the situation of children and act towards bringing a positive change.
CRY’s efforts to prevent malnutrition and eradicate it from the roots focuses on the following:
- The pregnant mother, because with proper prenatal care, adequate food and timely health check-ups, a pregnant woman stays fit and gives birth a healthy child. Without it she transfers her ill-health to her unborn child, and sets off a cycle of malnourishment.
- Proper immunisation procedure, as lack of healthcare during the first two years of a child’s life can contribute to a lifetime of ill health. Timely polio drops, immunisation and monitored development, are crucial to preventing malnourishment.
- Wholesome nutrition because it is not enough to feed hunger. Without essential micronutrients like iodine, iron and vitamins, children suffer brain damage, night blindness, rickets, anaemia and even heart failure.
“Don’t waste food, someone is sleeping empty stomach.”-Omer Syed
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“You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You’re human not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive.
Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love.
Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty.
We must keep putting one foot in front of the others even when we hurt, for we will never known what is waiting for us just around the bend”.
We should welcome the new year with fresh spirit, beaming smile and love in your heart. Wishing you health, wealth and happiness in the New Year ahead.
Wish you a very Happy New Year to you and your family. 🙂
“A meaningful life is not being Rich, being Popular, being highly Educated, or being Perfect.
It is about being Real, being Humble, being Strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others.
It is only then that we could have a Full, Happy and Contented life”.