Volunteers Brush Up on International Laws

Before packing your bags, there are some international laws you should know about that are aimed at protecting you while abroad.

Monday, a group of future Red Cross volunteers met at Florida A&M University. The purpose was to get educated on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, a collection of treaties signed by almost every nation the world which gives volunteers the authority to save lives.

Ann Daane, an instructor at the American Red Cross, says, "They are the basis or our organization, and for people who work with the organization, it's the best foundation they could have."

Among those protected by the four conventions are those wounded and sick in combat, prisoners of war and civilians. Red Cross officials say the goal of these legal workshops is to remind volunteers and staff members that under the treaties that they're protected as long as they do not carry firearms and remember to remain neutral at all times.

Ann says, "If your leg has been shot off, it doesn't matter what uniform was on the leg; you're still hurting."

Karen Ajgan, the executive director of the Capital Area Red Cross, says, "I think people want to be better world wide citizens, and that begins with understanding, knowing what the Geneva conventions are and what's happening around the globe.

Officials say the protection given by the conventions has saved millions of lives. It's believed that when the international law is understood and honored, humanity triumphs over hostility.

Those interested in volunteering with the Red Cross can call the Capital Area Chapter at 850-878-6080.