Ukraine must do more to protect civilians living close to the conflict contact line

By Beatrice Godefroy and Suleiman Mamutov On July 22, 2020, representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) agreed to implement an enhanced ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. In the months that followed, ceasefire violations significantly decreased and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported zero conflict-related civilian casualties resulting from…

Preparedness in urban operations: a commander’s planning checklist to protect civilians

By Sahr Muhammedally May 11, 2021 – Protecting civilians in urban operations is complex. Separating military targets from civilian populations is hard in any environment, but in urban areas, the density of the population, civilian objects – such as homes and schools, hospitals, electric power grids, and water sources – magnifies the challenges. Urban environments…

Counter-Terrorism Hangover or Legal Obligation? The Requirement to Protect Civilians In War

By Sahr Muhammedally Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, in a letter to the mayor and council of Atlanta before he besieged the town in 1864, wrote, “war is cruelty and you cannot refine it.” As a practitioner whose work focuses on the protection of civilians, I have witnessed indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and both governments and…

Power Politics Obstructs Protection of Civilians in — and after — the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

By Beatrice Godefroy and Julien Théron Even as people in Ukraine’s Donbas region continue to suffer amid the seven-year-long conflict between government forces and Russian-backed separatists, populations elsewhere in Eastern Europe find themselves also at the center of lingering tensions between conflicting regional powers. The “flash” hostilities that broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan in…