General Dempsey Promises Respect for Geneva Conventions in Military Training

In May reports emerged that the U.S. military used virulently Islamophobic materials in a class at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College. In response, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ordered an investigation of the criteria for choosing course materials. What was overlooked in all the coverage, however, was that the training materials also dismissed the importance of the Geneva Conventions and encouraged violations of international humanitarian law. In a public letter, Human Rights First condemned not only the Islamophobic nature of the materials, but the distributors’ disregard for the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law, and asked General Dempsey to address those concerns. This week, Human Rights First received General Dempsey’s reply, which said, in part:

This review will ensure that our training and education programs exhibit the cultural sensitivity, respect for religion, and intellectual balance that are necessary and required. I also assure you that we are committed to the Geneva Conventions and the law of armed conflict. These values are inherent in our Nation and especially our military profession of arms. I commend you and your organization for your international human rights and counterterrorism efforts and appreciate your support of our men and women in uniform.

Read the full letter from General Dempsey here.

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Published on June 20, 2012

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