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USNS Mercy T-AH-19

Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) of the United States Navy

The Second Geneva Convention, for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea was first adopted in 1906, after the Russo-Japanese war, but was significantly updated and replaced by the Second Geneva Convention of 1949. It adapts the main protections of the First Geneva Convention to combat at sea.

Summary of ProvisionsEdit

Parties to the Geneva Conventions

  Parties to GC I–IV and P I–III
  Parties to GC I–IV and P I–II
  Parties to GC I–IV and P I and III
  Parties to GC I–IV and P I
  Parties to GC I–IV and P III
  Parties to GC I–IV and no P

The treaty is a lengthy document consisting of 63 articles. The most essential provisions of the treaty are:

  • Articles 12 and 18 requires all parties to protect and care for the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked.
  • Article 21 allows appeals to be made to neutral vessels to help collect and care for the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked. The neutral vessels cannot be captured.
  • Articles 36 and 37 protect religious and medical personnel serving on a combat ship.
  • Article 22 states that hospital ships cannot be used for any military purpose, and owing to their humanitarian mission, they cannot be attacked or captured.
  • Article 14 clarifies that although a warship cannot capture a hospital ship's medical staff, it can hold the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked as prisoners of war.

For a detailed discussion of each article of the treaty, see the original text[1] and the commentary.[2] There are currently 194 countries party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including this second treaty but also including the other three.[3]

See alsoEdit

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