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Gulf states, ICRC review international laws

DOHA, Qatar, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said it coordinated an international law seminar with the Qatari military for officers in six gulf states.

"The main aim of this seminar is to ensure that all the armed forces in the Gulf region include the rules of international humanitarian law in their military training programs and in their standard operating procedures," Gerard Peytrignet, head of the ICRC's regional delegation for the Gulf Cooperation Council, said in a statement Sunday.

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The ICRC said the seminar was the first time representatives from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman have met collectively to discuss international humanitarian laws as they relate to their armed forces.

"It is ... crucial that the armed forces know about the role of the ICRC and its mandate, procedures and practices in order to facilitate its humanitarian activities," Peytrignet said.

Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament. Francois Crepeau, U.N. special envoy on the human rights of migrants, said last month hosting the World Cup should give Qatar reason to address rights for migrant workers.

Bahrain, for its part, has been criticized for cracking down on dissent in the country. Last year, Bahrain banned public demonstrations citing mounting security challenges but has since relaxed some restrictions.

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