When the Biden administration takes office on January 20, 2021, it will have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to better protect civilians caught in armed conflict through concrete improvements in US policy. This document, based on CIVIC’s experience and expertise working on the protection of civilians globally, lays out our recommendations for the Biden administration in 2021 and beyond. It includes recommendations for:

  • Reorienting US foreign policy away from endless war and towards diplomacy, human rights, and the protection of civilians;
  • Drafting, issuing, and implementing a new Department of Defense policy on civilian harm;
  • Recognizing and addressing the totality of harm caused by US operations since 9/11;
  • Curtailing covert lethal strikes and reining in clandestine activities that exacerbate challenges to protection and accountability;
  • Reforming the arms transfers process to better protect civilians and human rights;
  • Integrating civilian harm prevention, mitigation, and response in security assistance and cooperation;
  • Preventing and addressing harm from explosive weapons in populated areas;
  • Considering the human costs of great power competition;
  • Reaffirming support for domestic and international criminal accountability for atrocity crimes;
  • Supporting the UN protection of civilians agenda; and
  • Revitalizing US leadership on UN peacekeeping.

The brief, “Reversing the Trend: CIVIC Blueprint for US Protection of Civilians Policy in 2021 and Beyond“, also includes regional and country-specific policy recommendations in the regions where CIVIC works, including the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe.