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Increasing the protection of water in time of armed conflict

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The first norms of the law of armed conflict dealing with the protection of access to water pertain to the protection of specific categories of individuals such as prisoners of war. Those norms were provided for by the Third Geneva Conventions of 1949. Yet it was not until the adoption of the Additional Protocols of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions that the protection of access to water was included in the regime of the limitations imposed on military operations during international and non- international armed conflicts. Both Article 54(2) of Additional Protocol I and Article 14 of Additional Protocol II, provide for the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as ‘drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works’.

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