History Of The Geneva Convention
The history of the Geneva Convention dates back to the year 1859. That year a Swiss man named Henry Dunant was immensely appalled to witness the dreadful state of thousands of war casualties with no one to offer assistance.
In 1862, Dunant published a book entitled; ‘Memoir of Solferino’ illustrating the terrors of war. Thereafter, he put forth two proposals.One pointed towards establishing voluntary relief societies that would focus on the health concerns of those wounded during war. The second addressed the issue of instituting an international treaty pertaining to the security of the injured from any subsequent assault. In course of time, these two concepts lead to the foundation of the Red Cross and the Geneva Convention. Henri Dunant was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for his remarkable contribution that etched history.
In the year 1864, in a conference attended by representatives of many governments, 16 nations ended up endorsing the first treaty. This treaty designated as Geneva Convention declared that all war casualties would be given medical support irrespective of their nationalities. Therefore, all medical personnel would be unbiased and a red cross on a white background would be their recognition mark. However, at this juncture the treaty only covered the issue of those injured in times of war.
The year 1906 witnessed the adoption of the second treaty, which specifically focused on armed personnel wounded at sea. The main agenda of the first two conventions incorporated the healing of the wounded, sick or shipwrecked soldiers. The bodies of dead enemies were to be safeguarded against robbery. Also, no medical vehicle or equipment was to be damaged.
The third treaty established in 1929 stressed on the conduct rendered to the prisoners of war. It enveloped aspects such as the code of conduct to be followed while dealing with prisoners of war, the food and medical facilities offered to them, their correspondence with family and their protection in relation to close confinement. The 1929 treaty was endorsed by many countries except for USSR and Japan. However, in 1942, Japan consented to abide by these laws.
Stimulated by the Nuremburg Trials, the fourth treaty came up in 1949. This threw light on the security of the civilian population during wartime. Since then there have been further deliberations on these treaties that resulted in the incorporation of two protocols in 1977 and one in 2005.
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