Has The World Stopped Caring About The Rules Of War?

by : Francesca Donovan on : 01 Nov 2016 20:35
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War seems to be everywhere. In the mass media, encroaching on our doorstep amid the apparent threat of total global conflict and in the far-flung places so many of us have sadly learned to ignore in our day-to-day existence.

With so much of the world under the thumb of military might, there are very real and very necessary rules of conflict to which governments and their armies must abide in order to maintain humanity, save lives and prevent unnecessary suffering in war zones.


These rules are called the Geneva Conventions and according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) they are being ignored.

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The Geneva Conventions were established in 1949 to protect people around the world from the atrocities of war. Simply put, they established humanitarian rights for those residing in and around war zones, for wartime prisoners and they also guaranteed treatment for the sick and injured during times of conflict.

The conventions have been ratified by 196 countries, making them universally binding. But still we bear witness to a world in which war has become so normalised, it is bigger than concerns for the safety of its people.


So, the ICRC has launched a new campaign illustrating the importance of these international laws, asking whether victory can really be called victory if, in turn, it calls civilian lives collateral damage.

Victory By Any Means takes just 60 seconds to show you a horrifying insight into war in the 21st century, as narrated by dark, worrisome populist political statements.

Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC, said:


The bombing of hospitals, the massive displacement of civilians and the scourge of sexual violence in war have almost become commonplace. Human suffering in conflict is nothing new.

But collectively, we’re failing in our response to it. Not enough countries, not enough armies, not enough armed groups, are abiding by the fundamental human values enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.

When international humanitarian law is violated we all, ultimately, pay the price.

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We, as onlookers to these daily massacres have adopted a disassociated point of view, reeling from atrocity after atrocity, protecting ourselves from the horrors of war and the never-ending humanitarian nightmare.

Emotionally, it is too much to contemplate the use of rape as a military tool, the attacking of humanitarian convoys and journalists, the enlisting of young children to fight a war they couldn’t even fully understand, and the daily loss of life. If we allowed ourselves to fully process the scenes we are shown in the news, we’d be living in a perpetual state of despair.


However, we still see images of hospitals being blown up, schools being burnt to the ground, a 7-year-old girl live tweeting the bombings in her hometown of Aleppo, Syria.


So, how can these atrocities be allowed to happen when they go against the universally binding Geneva Conventions?

The hard-hitting Victory By Any Means, directed by Tom Green and created in collaboration with DigitasLBi and Kitcatt Nohr, documents what happens when the rules of war are ignored.

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Campaign, Sensitive