St. Joseph’s College of Patchogue, NY has decided to participate in the IHL Action Campaign for the second year in a row. We chose to partake in the Campaign again because we were thoroughly intrigued by the nations committed to protecting international humanitarian law (IHL), as well as how IHL protects our basic human rights.
As American youth go about their everyday lives, we tend to avoid addressing global issues. We often attempt to stay in the safety of our own bubbles, and most of us would rather remain unaware of the plights of those who are not a part of our nearby surroundings. As an American Red Cross Club, however, we choose to address these issues, and we hope to educate others about the information we have acquired throughout the IHL Action Campaign. If young people are aware of the laws of war, they will be more capable of detecting injustices and be better equipped to help in unlawful situations. Many say that knowledge is power, and we agree!
We chose the topic of refugees this year due to the prevalence of this subject in the news. Many people have been pushed out of their homes and forced to seek refuge as a result of armed conflict in recent years. The issues in Syria were a spearhead for our interest in this topic.
One of the many elements of our campaign was the formation of a Facebook page to discuss the topic of IHL and refugees. We added members of our college community and others to the page so that they could receive daily facts pertaining to the IHL Action Campaign. We also posted pictures and stories of refugees to the page. We felt that people would respond well to getting to know the stories of some refugees as well as discovering why these refugees had to leave their homes.
We have also been distributing surveys in order to gauge the amount of knowledge that people have about IHL. So far, we have found that this form of law is not well known among our peers, and we hope to change that. Last, but not least, we are less than a week away from hosting our refugee simulation! We hope that our community will get a taste of what it feels like to be displaced from one’s home and have to transition into a new life.
*The purpose of the IHL Action Campaign is for young people to teach their peers about the importance of IHL, as well as issues related to gender, refugees, and humanitarianism.