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04 April 2020 / 11 Syaaban 1441


Regional Workshop on Law of Armed Conflict at Sea launched

Author :BKKPA Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A regional workshop on Law of Armed Conflict (LoAC) at Sea that gather 28 senior naval officers from Asia Pacific region has been inaugurated by Malaysia’s Deputy Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Dato’ Anuwi Bin Hassan on behalf of the Chief of Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Bin Haji Ahmad Badaruddin, at the National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM) today. Jointly hosted by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), NDUM and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the five-day workshop will discuss a range of operational issues relating to the law of naval warfare and current issues relating to humanitarian action at sea.

In its fourth edition, this regional gathering proves to be an excellent platform for senior naval officers to exchange ideas, experiences, networking as well as best practice. International prominent academics and military specialists are brought in to be the facilitators of the workshop. Previous versions of the workshop were held in Singapore, Bangkok and Indonesia.

In her welcoming remarks, Isabelle Barras, head of ICRC’s regional delegation in Kuala Lumpur, highlighted the significance of this workshop which is the very first of many regional events that are to be hosted by the newly established Regional Centre for Military and International Humanitarian Law (COMIHL) in NDUM. ‘Right now, somewhere in the world, ICRC representatives are engaging with operational commanders at the tactical level,’ she said. I hope that participants will learn more about how the ICRC fits into their operational space, while at the same time, making the most out of this opportunity to engage with colleagues from other naval forces", she concluded.

Deputy Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Dato’ Anuwi Bin Hassan, highlighted the following important points in the keynote address.

1. The sea represent important factor in the geopolitics of the Asia Pacific which connect maritime boundaries and influences the sustainability of the region. This makes maritime security increasingly critical and highly important to all regional and international stakeholders. Malaysia acknowledges that good order at sea must prevail to ensure safe passage of seaborne trade passing through the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. Safeguarding the global commons for collective well-being is the responsibility of all parties.

2. MINDEF’s initiative by formulating the strategic direction to support the National Transformation 50 or TN50 is also aligned with the requirement to become an advanced and safe nation. The strategic thrust formulated namely Readiness, Security, Defence Diplomacy and Welfare. Through these 4 strategic thrusts, the need for awareness about humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict falls under the thrusts of Security and Defence Diplomacy. Therefore, the conduct of this workshop is timely, with the necessity to equip the navies in the region with the awareness and knowledge on humanitarian law as well as the law of armed conflict at sea to promote security.

3. RMN sees this workshop as an important event for the country to prove that it is serious in maintaining cooperation with Navies in the region to ensure that maritime security is always preserved. In support of this spirit, the sea shall not look as an obstacle, but rather as an opportunity, particularly to further enhance the existing cooperation and fellowship among the navies. The uptrend of non-state actors in maritime violence in the Sulu Sea that has rampantly conducted kidnap for ransom has brought Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to form the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) that encompasses Sea Patrol, Air Surveillance, Intelligence Sharing and the establishment of Maritime Command Centres within the Sulu Sea region. This cooperative arrangement is adopted from the successful Malacca Straits Patrol (MSP) initiative participated by Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

4. We shall oblige by the law of armed conflict at sea while enforcing the law in the area and be governed by the international humanitarian law. Therefore, the sailors should be equipped with the knowledge on the act while dealing with threat in the area and this centre will be the best platform to provide the requirement. The establishment of the Centre of Excellence is proving that Malaysia is against any acts that are against the international humanitarian law. We shall garner all the effort in combating trans-boundary crimes while maintaining the law of armed conflict at sea to promote a better and safe world.

Also present at the opening ceremony was NDUM Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Tengku Mohd Bin Tengku Sembok who was delighted to see the joint collaboration between NDUM, RMN and ICRC for the regional workshop and extended his warmest welcome to all participants to the university. He also expressed his wish for COMIHL to become a centre of excellence on military and international humanitarian law in the region.

Worldwide, the ICRC works with government ministries and agencies, armed forces, police, prison authorities, universities and other sectors of the civil society to develop awareness of LoAC, also known as international humanitarian law. It also offers its expertise to help governments meet their responsibilities by passing related legislation and to assist in the training of their armed forces.

Last Edited : Wednesday, 31 May 2017