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The Canadian National Committee for Humanitarian Law (CNCHL)

Terms of Reference

Statement of Purpose

The Canadian National Committee for Humanitarian Law (CNCHL) is established pursuant to a recommendation of the 26 th International Red Cross Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Its main task consists of facilitating the implementation of international humanitarian law in Canada, including the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.

Membership

The core members of the CNCHL consist of representatives of the following departments and organizations: Foreign Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence (DND), the Department of Justice, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department of the Solicitor General as represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and The Canadian Red Cross Society.

The core members of the CNCHL will participate as members of the Committee on an ex officio basis. These individuals would occupy positions within their departments and organizations which concern the field of international law, in particular international humanitarian law, or international humanitarian assistance.

Other members of the CNCHL will be selected by the core members as required for particular projects and could include representatives of other federal government departments, such as Heritage Canada, Privy Council Office, Elections Canada and Citizenship and Immigration, representative of provincial departments of education, and academics specializing in international humanitarian law. These members shall be appointed on an interim basis upon the agreement of the core members of the Committee.

The Chair of CNCHL will rotate amongst its members. When the current Legal Adviser leaves his position, a new Chair will be selected by the Committee members.

Secretariat

The Canadian Red Cross Society will act as the Secretariat, providing facilities for meetings to be held three times a year and to keep minutes of the meetings.

The CNCHL Secretariat will:

  • provide premises for meetings of the Committee;
  • provide staff support for the recording of minutes of the plenary sessions;
  • coordinate the preparation of required documentation for scheduled meetings;
  • provide administrative support for the Committee (correspondence, meeting arrangements etc.);
  • be responsible for coordination among CNCHL members; and
  • liaise with other members for the CNCHL, with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other national societies.

Functions of the CNCHL

The Main Functions of the CNCHL are related to:

  • considering and, where appropriate, recommending the ratification of additional IHL instruments;
  • facilitating implementation of IHL obligations, including reviewing national legislation and administrative measures relating to such implementation, including the punishment of violations of IHL, the protection of the red cross and other emblems protected by IHL, and the guarantees of protected persons;
  • advising on dissemination and training of IHL within Canada, including the armed forces, the police, civil servants, humanitarian organizations, judiciary and legal profession, medical profession, schools and universities, journalists and other members of the general public;
  • coordinating and stimulating action of government departments and other relevant organizations in strengthening and disseminating IHL;
  • examining, where appropriate, recommending measures to promote the national implementation of IHL in other countries drawing on the resources and expertise available in Canada; and
  • maintaining a pool of personnel knowledgeable about IHL, and liaising and exchanging information with other national NCHL and the ICRC regarding IHL.
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