Computer games might violate human rights

The Red Cross is mulling over whether or not playing a computer game where the body count is higher than the annual Aztec Women’s Institute bring and buy sale, constitutes a human rights violation.

It’s wondering if online ‘warriors’ in Call of Duty should be forced to obey the Geneva convention, particularly as shoot-em-ups lack any surrender bar and if someone is wounded badly you usually finish them off.

According to the Daily Mail the Red Cross thinks that people will appreciate international humanitarian law more if  600 million gamers were forbidden to commit atrocities in the comfort of their own homes.

The committee’s action is aimed more towards developers, particularly as war games become more realistic. Its theory is that they have a responsibility to add humanitarian elements to their games.

Then that way if a player seems to be spending most of their time shooting civilians to see which way they fall, they could find that the game works against them.

Arguably the last time you saw the full horrors of people treating war like it was a computer game was in the last Balkan conflict and they learned very quickly that there would be a War Crimes trial to deal with. The way around that would be to always play the Americans who appear to be able to shoot what they like and whose government never allows them to attend a war crimes hearing.

The British Red Cross is preparing a statement. A spokesperson laughed when asked how much of the story was Mail Online hyperbole. We’re told the story is based on an informal chat at a fringe event in Geneva. The general gist is there – we’ll publish the reaction when it comes through.

Meanwhile, the British Red Cross has just released a first aid app to smartphone users around the world.

The free app features simple, easy-to-understand advice on 18 everyday first aid scenarios, as well as tips on how to prepare for emergencies, from severe winter weather to road traffic accidents.

It is available for Apple, Android and Blackberry and “allows” users to save lives at a swipe of their touchscreens, the Red Cross tells us.

To download the British Red Cross first aid app, use the Quick Response (QR) codes here or find it on iTunes AppStore, Android Market or Blackberry Appworld.