Somalia Publications

Reports & Briefs

The People’s Perspectives: Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict
11 May 2015  |  Research Report

The laws of war prohibit the intentional targeting of civilians. This principle, known as civilian immunity, is the cornerstone of international humanitarian law. Yet this immunity is not absolute: civilians are immune from being targeted unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities. Thus, a civilian may be lawfully targeted while directly participating in hostilities. This study is based on more than 250 interviews with individuals who have lived through conflict in Bosnia, Libya, Gaza, and Somalia. For these civilians, the issues of participation and protection during war are not abstract problems, but instead are a matter of life and death. By shedding light on their perspectives and experiences, this study endeavors to inject civilian voices into this conversation about “the civilian.”

Acknowledge, Amend, Assist: Addressing Civilian Harm Caused by Armed Conflict and Armed Violence
30 April 2015  |  Journal Article

CIVIC discusses the concepts of civilian harm tracking and amends in two articles in Harvard Law School Human Rights Program and Action on Armed Violence's publication "Acknowledge, Amend, Assist: Addressing Civilian Harm Caused by Armed Conflict and Armed Violence."

The Civilian Impact of Drones
20 September 2012 | Research Report

This joint report from the Center for Civilians in Conflict and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic is an in-depth look at the US government’s covert drone program and its impact on civilian populations. Our objective is to critically assess US government procedures and standards for ensuring civilian protection and responding to civilian harm from drone strikes conducted both outside of full-scale military operations and with a degree of secrecy. The study is based on a review of publicly available materials, interviews with current and former government officials, responses to requests for information from agencies, and previous field interviews by Center for Civilians in Conflict.

Civilian Harm in Somalia: Creating an Appropriate Response  
10 November 2011 | Research Report

This report details the response Somalis want to see when civilians are harmed in conflict. It sets out how traditional dispute resolution mechanisms can inform such responses and makes technical recommendations. No apology or amount of compensation can give back what Somali war victims and their families have lost. But our findings clearly show that an attempt to respond to their suffering in this conflict can mitigate some of the consequences and return a sense of dignity to the victims and their communities.



Backgrounder: Civilian Harm Tracking  |  August 2013


Testimony & Advocacy

CIVIC Remarks at SOCOM Legal Conference
27 February 2015  |  Speech

Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Program Manager MENA and South Asia at CIVIC, spoke at the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Legal Conference on February 25, 2015.

Remarks at AFRICOM Academic Symposium
23 June 2014  |  Floor Statement

Floor Statement from Marla B. Keenan, CIVIC's Managing Director and Military Engagement Director, at AFRICOM's 6th academic symposium "Perspectives and Partners on Popultion-Centric Security Sector Transformation."

CIVIC Remarks at OCHA Conference
24 June 2014  |  Speech

Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Program Manager MENA and South Asia at CIVIC, spoke at the OCHA Conference on Strengthening Protection of Civilians from Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, UN ECOSOC Humanitarian Segment.

CIVIC Remarks at Oslo Expert Meeting
18 June 2014  |  Speech

Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Program Manager MENA and South Asia at CIVIC, spoke at the Informal Expert Meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons, in Oslo, Norway.

Making Amends to Civilians as a Crucial Measure in the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
30 October 2009  |  Joint Letter

This letter urgers members of the UN Security Council to proclaim in their statements at the upcoming Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Open Debate that parties to armed conflict should make amends and support any similar language proposed in the draft resolution.



What Civilians Themselves Say about Targeting and their Participation in Conflict
21 May 2015 
 |  Just Security  |  Nicolette Boehland  |  Guest Post

Five Ways Obama Can Fix Drones Right Now
06 November 2013
 | Defense One  | Sarah Holewinski & Dr. Larry Lewis    


Press Releases

Civilian Impact of Covert Drone Operations Overlooked | 30 September 2012 

Civilian Combat Harm Must Be Priority at London Somalia Conference  |  22 February 2012

Somali Civilians Say They Want Recognition for Conflict-Losses | 10 November 2011

Civilian Casualties in Yemen, Somalia, and Libya Show Better Military Planning Needed  |  07 September 2011



Drones: An Outlier in a Transparent Presidency  |  16 January 2013

Responding to Harm in Somalia  |  10 November 2011

SOMALIA: Civilians in the Crossfire  |  16 August 2010