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Sudhakaran asked: How can the armed forces effectively protect national security interests with commitment towards an impeccable human rights agenda?

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  • Ali Ahmed replies: The military is committed to following national policy on human rights as defined in the Human Rights Act of 1993. It is a mistaken impression that national security would tend to suffer in any form were the military to affirm its human rights commitments. On the contrary, a military that is in sync with societal culture and national policy is one that is more combat effective. Human rights would not so much come into play in conventional war as would humanitarian law. The military is cognisant of the humanitarian laws, in particular the 1960 Geneva Conventions Act. In so far as subconventional conflict, especially counter insurgency is concerned, adherence to human rights is a force multiplier. It reduces alienation and discredits insurgent propaganda. This enables easier access to intelligence from the people and thereby intelligence based operations. This cycle leads to a lesser imposition on human rights. Therefore, national security is served by adherence to human rights commitments.