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.
Civilians have suffered immensely during nearly three decades of armed conflict in Afghanistan. And there seems to be little hope of a respite; according to the UN, 2012 was one the deadliest years for civilians on record since October 2001. In June, the UN also reported that the civilian death toll in the first half of 2013 increased nearly 25% over the same period last year. Disturbingly, children are making up a greater percentage of casualties: 21% of all civilians killed or wounded in the first half of 2013 were children -- a 30% increase compared to 2012.
With the US war in Iraq officially over, civilians face a long road to recovery and ongoing protection concerns due to sectarian violence. Millions of Iraqis are still displaced from their homes, both inside the country and as refugees in neighboring countries. While some refugees are returning, the vast majority cannot go back to their homes, often due to lack of security and employment prospects.
The 2011 Libyan revolution led to the ousting of Qaddafi and the country’s first steps towards the formation of an elected government. Civilians were at risk from fighting by multiple parties during the revolution and are still vulnerable as the country rebuilds.
photo by Thomas Martinez
Hundreds of thousands of Malians have fled their homes following a violent power struggle in early 2012 between armed rebels and the Malian army in the northern part of country. As fears of a collapse of the Malian state grew stronger, a flash intervention led by French military forces in January 2013 pushed back the...
Militant attacks, US drone strikes, Pakistani military operations, and suicide bombings are daily dangers for civilians in northwest Pakistan. The Center’s interviews with civilians have highlighted an inconsistent, and often inadequate, response to civilian harm in Pakistan by all warring parties.
In March 2011, the Syrian government responded to peaceful protests with brutal force, sinking the country into civil war. Two years of armed conflict—with more than 100,000 dead, 2 million refugees, 4.5 million internally displaced persons, and an entire population brutalized by incessant violence—has left deep wounds. Worryingly, sectarianism has come to characterize much of the violence, which has produced fissures that threaten to tear Syria apart in even more destructive ways. The international community is debating potential political and military responses to the humanitarian crisis. Thus far, outside pressure appears to have had little impact on bringing the war to a close. In the meantime, Syria’s civilian population continues to suffer extreme violence with little hope of respite.
Somalia has endured two decades of near continuous conflict, with parts of the country debilitated and a power vacuum filled by warlords, militias, and militant groups—most notably the hardline Islamist groups al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam. The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was restored in 2006 with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) deployed to offer peace support...