We work with civilians in conflict zones. We travel to conflict zones and speak directly to those affected. We document their stories and listen when they tell us what they want. We bring their perspective to those in power and advise on ways to recognize, protect, and help them.
“In Afghanistan, if someone comes to your home [to apologize] you do not get revenge on them. But we also request them to help the families of those killed… If they dont help our families, we take it as a sign that they did this intentionally. And then people will raise their guns to fight them.”- Abdul*, whose eight-year-old son was killed in an ISAF airstrike
The Center has pressed for assistance to conflict victims in Iraq since our founding in 2003. Our work helped create the first US-funded program for civilians harmed by US combat operations, the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund. The fund helps civilian victims and their families begin to rebuild their lives by providing health care and livelihood assistance, and rebuilding destroyed homes.
“We have to realize that things have changed for the worse. We all have a duty to understand that we live in a very fragile society now -- and what that means. Many people want to take revenge…but we have to understand that revenge will tip us into hell.” –Ahmed*, a schoolteacher in Mali
“I was driving my tractor in the field when the rocket hit me…there was a lot of crossfire at the time between the government and the militants. My back was broken as a result… Now I cannot move either of my legs. I am forever disabled and cannot walk.” –Rahman, from Bajaur, Pakistan.
“We live in constant fear of whether we will live or die. I want the rockets to stop. I want to go back to my home and live peacefully.”--Manal*, a mother of two from Hama.
“In Somali culture, if somebody is killed, the killer should come and talk to me, help me bury the dead and compensate me.” –Mohammed*, 32 year old Somali man to the Center