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15 Protection of Religious Personnel

Dieter Fleck

From: The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (4th Edition)

Edited By: Dieter Fleck

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 27 September 2023

Religion — Prisoners of war — Armed conflict

This chapter examines the protection of religious personnel and legal issues of religious tolerance in armed conflicts. The presence of religious personnel in armed conflict is a reflection of the most basic sentiments of humanity and respect for the individual. Military ‘chaplains assigned to the armed forces’ are, in accordance with Article 24 GC I, protected in the same way as medical personnel. Article 8, lit. d, AP I uses the term ‘religious personnel’, which is more neutral than the Christian term ‘chaplain’. Religious personnel shall not be the object of discrimination by the adversary with regard to their particular religion. Moreover, religious personnel must not be hindered in pursuing their religious duties, even if the national regulations of the state in which they are working prohibit it. These protections are applicable to all religious personnel irrespective of their age or length of experience or military rank that they carry.

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