The Hague, 5 September 2023 – On Tuesday, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), with the endorsement of high-profile international organizations and supporters, launched a global campaign aimed at denouncing harm done to civilians in armed conflict. The #NotCollateralDamage campaign is calling on countries and world institutions to take stronger action to protect civilian women, men, and children.
“With the world facing the highest number of violent conflicts since WWII, civilians are experiencing an unacceptable level of harm resulting from state security and military operations, as well as violence by other armed groups,” said Hajer Naili, CIVIC’s Director of Communications and Campaign Lead. “The campaign should serve as a wake-up call to stop considering civilian harm as an inevitable consequence of armed conflict. Warring parties have many tools at their disposal to shield civilians from the effects of their actions, and they need to start using them.”
Award-winning actress Kate Henshaw, Nigerian rapper and record producer MI Abaga, and CEO and Founder of Narratio Ahmed Badr have endorsed the campaign, condemning the harm done to civilians despite their right to protection. International human rights and non-governmental organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, PAX, and Crisis Group have also joined the campaign to denounce the lack of action to protect civilians in armed conflict and call for all responsible actors to abide by their obligations.
Today, about 2 billion people—a quarter of humanity—live in places affected by conflict. Civilians and communities in conflict are bearing the brunt of armed violence and are suffering from long-lasting disruptions to their lives, including forced displacement and family separation, disease and food insecurity, loss of livelihood, and psychological trauma. Despite longstanding recommendations from civil society and civilian communities themselves on ways to better protect civilians from harm, civilians account for up to 90 percent of casualties in some armed conflicts.*
CIVIC’s campaign is launching as the organization turns 20 years. Founded in the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq and the devastating civilian harm that resulted, CIVIC’s vision has remained unchanged: civilians must be protected. While more countries are recognizing the need to better protect civilians, actions to effectively prevent and address civilian harm are still insufficient.
“While conflicts are breaking out and escalating around the world, the international community is still grappling with how to shield civilians from the effects of armed conflict. However, the time for debating strategies and policies has passed. Now is the time to take action,” said Udo Jude Ilo, CIVIC’s Interim Executive Director. “Protecting civilians in conflict is both a legal and moral imperative. There are many solutions available to protect civilians from armed conflict and address harm when it occurs. Countries, global institutions, and warring parties need to use them. And one of them is adherence to the letter to international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
*Correction: An initial version stated that “90 percent of casualties in wartime are civilians.”
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Watch our supporters’ messages here
Use and download campaign materials here
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Hajer Naili, Director of Communications, email@example.com, +184.108.40.206.68.86 / +1 917 889 5982 (WhatsApp)
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that envisions a world in which no civilian is harmed in conflict. Founded in 2003 by Marla Ruzicka, CIVIC now works in dozens of countries. Learn more at www.civiliansinconflict.org and follow CIVIC on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.