What is the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)?
We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for the protection of civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.
Does CIVIC provide direct aid to civilians?
CIVIC is not a direct aid organization, but instead a research and advocacy organization. We conduct on-the-ground assessments before, during, and after conflicts and advocate smart, compassionate policies to lawmakers and warring parties that will improve the lives of civilian men, women, and children in conflict zones. This allows us to have a longer-lasting and farther-reaching effect on civilians in conflicts worldwide.
What does CIVIC mean when it calls itself an advocacy organization?
CIVIC works on behalf of civilians in conflict zones, encouraging those in power to enact smarter and more compassionate policies. We speak to civilians in conflict zones, learn their stories, and ask about their needs. We go to political and military decision-makers, abroad and in the U.S., to tell their stories, and give voice to civilians who, most likely, would not otherwise be heard. Every action CIVIC takes is carried out on their behalf. Through our advocacy work, we ensure that civilians are considered before, during, and after a conflict.
Who funds CIVIC?
CIVIC is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported primarily by private individuals and foundations. We also receive funding from various governments that don't take part directly in the conflicts in which we operate. We do not accept U.S. government funds.
How can I help?
CIVIC relies on contributions from generous individuals to support our ongoing advocacy and research. Please consider becoming a donor! To support our work please visit our donation page or contact our development department. To learn more about our funding please visit our financials page. You can also sign up for our mailing list or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about our work and how to help civilians in conflict.
Is CIVIC aligned with a particular political party or ideology?
CIVIC is a non-partisan, non-political advocacy organization. Being responsible to civilians in conflict should not be seen as a partisan issue, and CIVIC works with organizations and government officials in various countries spanning the entire political spectrum.
Is CIVIC anti-military?
No, CIVIC is not anti-military. In fact, we work closely with U.S. military personnel, foreign militaries and peacekeepers on civilian harm mitigation and proactive protection—including African Union troops in Somalia, the Afghan National Security Forces, United Nations Peacekeeping missions in Mali and South Sudan, and the Nigerian government. Additionally, CIVIC works with international organizations such as NATO to prevent civilian harm when possible, protect civilians during armed conflict, and make amends for the harm that does occur. We will engage with those national militaries and leaders who show an interest in and commitment to civilian protection. We believe that change comes from collaboration and working from within.
Why doesn't CIVIC work on other issues connected to conflicts, such as their root causes or other negative consequences of armed conflict?
We care deeply about both the causes and ramifications of conflict. However, there are many organizations that focus specifically on the roots of conflicts and their negative consequences. Rather than duplicate the efforts of others, CIVIC seeks to occupy a unique space in the advocacy community, bolster the efforts of other NGOs, and add value to the overall effort to protect and help those affected by armed conflict. We do this by working with warring parties to ensure civilians are at the center of their planning and advise them on appropriate amends programs for those harmed as a result of combat operations. This allows us to adhere to our specific mandate to prevent and address harm to civilians in conflict zones.
Does CIVIC only work on conflicts involving U.S. forces?
No, CIVIC is concerned for civilians caught in armed conflicts around the world, not only those conflicts resulting from U.S. engagement. We have worked with NATO, the United Nations, the African Union, and pressed the governments of multiple countries to protect and make amends to civilians in conflicts where the state was or is a warring party. Ultimately, CIVIC calls upon all warring parties—even non-state actors—to protect civilians and provide help when protection efforts fail. CIVIC has advocated for civilians in conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, the Central Africa Iraq, Libya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Israel, and Syria.
Does CIVIC have a stance on specific wars?
No, CIVIC takes no specific stance on particular wars. We focus solely on advocating for policies and procedures that prevent harm to civilians, protect civilians when possible, and provide amends for the harm that does occur. We work solely on addressing the devastating impact these wars have on civilian men, women, and children, not the politics behind the conflicts.
Why did Center for Civilians in Conflict change its name from Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict?
CIVIC decided to change its name as it became apparent that our original name no longer clearly communicated the work we do. When Marla Ruzicka founded CIVIC in 2003, the organization focused primarily on grassroots work to improve the lives of civilians harmed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on an individual, case-by-case basis. However, as the organization has grown, we have taken on new challenges and begun working at a broader policy level. As such, the name change was necessary in order to convey the broader scope of our work and continue Marla’s mission to help civilian victims of war and carry on her legacy.