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Red Cross and Allen and Overy launch innovative ‘rules of war’ education resource for Citizenship St

30 September 2009
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Heron Holloway
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Thousands of secondary students in the UK will soon be studying areas of international humanitarian law (IHL), or the ‘rules of war’, in the run up to the new Citizenship Studies GCSE examinations next year, currently the fastest growing subject at GCSE.

Today the British Red Cross launches a new education resource to be used by teachers delivering the IHL aspects of the Citizenship curriculum. The resource, developed by a team of lawyers from international legal practice, Allen & Overy, and education specialists from the British Red Cross, includes a series of interactive lesson plans designed to stimulate debate on IHL and wider topics around justice and fairness.

The inclusion of IHL in the revised Citizenship curriculum is the result of three years of advocacy work by the British Red Cross.
The resource not only looks at conflicts around the world, but at issues closer to home, such as how and why young people get caught up in violent situations in their local communities.

Deirdre Coffey, Senior Education Advisor at the British Red Cross, explains: “Teaching young people about international humanitarian law not only helps them understand conflict in different parts of the world, but has real relevance to situations of conflict in their immediate surroundings.”

Lesson plan overviews

Initially launched in the UK, it is hoped that the resource can be adapted for use in other countries through a new, long-term partnership between Allen & Overy and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The first lesson plan in the resource focuses on IHL with three further lesson plans exploring wider topics around justice and fairness. Other highlights planned over the next three years include a conference on IHL and education on 3 December 2009 and a student competition encouraging young people to explore humanitarian issues through action based projects.

The partnership between the Red Cross and Allen & Overy, entitled ‘Justice around the world’, launches with the introduction of this education resource in the UK and comes in the 60th anniversary year of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which provide protection for the victims of armed conflict, both military and civilian.

Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross said:
“This education resource will aid teachers, in the first year of teaching the new Citizenship Studies GCSE, to explore areas of international humanitarian law, justice and fairness in an engaging and absorbing way with their students.

“The resource has been developed by Allen & Overy staff, drawing upon their legal expertise, and our education team, in keeping with our commitment to promote humanitarian values, enhance respect for human dignity and raise awareness of international humanitarian law.
“We are thrilled to be working with Allen & Overy on this important and exciting partnership.”

David Morley, senior partner of Allen & Overy, said:
“This is our first global charity partnership and we’re delighted to be working with the British Red Cross on this innovative education resource. It’s a perfect fit with our pro bono and community affairs work, which is based on the principles of justice and fair treatment.”

Every secondary school in the UK will receive an explanatory booklet about the resource and teachers can download the pack, available from 30 September, at

Teachers interested in attending the British Red Cross and Allen & Overy conference on IHL and education on 3 December 2009, finding out more about the student competition or the partnership should visit or email

Notes to editors
> Allen & Overy is an international legal practice with 5,000 people in 22 countries It is supporting the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as its first ever global charity partner
> The partnership between Allen & Overy and the IFRC will run for three years, from 2009-2011
> The partnership, which will be co-ordinated by the British Red Cross, will support the work of the IFRC and Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies over the next three years
> The partnership will support British Red Cross develop and provide new humanitarian education resources helping thousands of young people explore the subjects of international law, justice, fair treatment and humanity

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.