The Independent Commission, the Independent Bureau and the United Nations

While not a UN body, ICIHI had close connections with the world organization. In 1981, at the initiative of Jordan, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution relating to a ‘New International Humanitarian Order’ in which it recognized “the importance of further improving a comprehensive international framework which takes fully into account existing instruments relating to humanitarian questions as well as the need for addressing those aspects which are not yet adequately covered.”

The following year, the General Assembly adopted a further resolution, in which it noted “the proposal for the establishment, outside the United Nations framework, of an Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues composed of leading personalities in the humanitarian field or having wide experience of government or world affairs.” In December 1987, the General Assembly adopted a further resolution, expressing its appreciation to ICIHI, drawing the attention of states and international organizations to the Commission’s final report and inviting them to consider its analysis and recommendations.

The December 1987 Resolution also requested all members of the international community to maintain contact with a newly-established and non-UN entity, titled the Independent Bureau on Humanitarian Issues (IBIHI). Under the leadership of Zia Rizvi, the new Bureau continued to advocate for the ICIHI’s recommendations and to promote the notion of a new international humanitarian order. The Bureau also became substantively involved in the humanitarian dimensions of the armed conflict in former Yugoslavia, focusing on issues such as statelessness, minorities, as well as land and property rights.