Starting today in Dambulla, Sri Lanka is hosting the first international conference on Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
The three-day conference will dwell on ‘Reducing Suffering During Armed Conflict: The Interface Between Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law (IHL)”.
The event is organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with Buddhist scholars from around the world. In Sri Lanka, the ICRC has worked closely with experts from the Bhikshu University, Buddhist and Pali University, University of Colombo and University of Peradeniya among others, as well as the Sarvodaya Movement. Legal experts, academics and military personnel will engage in a constructive dialogue and exchange to explore correspondences between Buddhism and IHL and what guidance Buddhism can provide to those engaged in or caught up in armed conflict.
“The conference will act as a springboard to understand how Buddhism can contribute to regulating armed conflict and what it offers in terms of guidance on the conduct of, and behaviour, during war for combatants and non-combatants”, said Loukas Petridis, the head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka.
“The conference is concerned primarily with the conduct of armed conflict and not with the reasons and justifications for it, peace-building, conflict prevention or resolution, all of which fall outside the remit of IHL”.
The mandate of the ICRC is to protect and assist those affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence and to promote compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL).