Washington, DC (February 4, 2019) – Today the U.S. Department of Defense released a report on civilian casualties resulting from U.S. air or artillery strikes in the area of operation of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) from 2015 to 2017. As one of the members of the NGO advisory group mentioned on page one of the report, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) staff provided advice and insights to the study group throughout the study process.* Upon the report’s release, CIVIC Executive Director Federico Borello issued the following statement:
“Since our inception, CIVIC has followed with concern the increasing number of civilians killed or wounded in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, and the under-reporting of the number of civilians impacted in places like Somalia and Libya. As understanding the extent of civilian harm is a vital step toward its mitigation, we appreciate former Secretary Mattis and his staff agreeing to conduct a formal study into civilian casualties resulting from U.S. operations in the AFRICOM and CENTCOM AORs.
“While neither the study nor the report goes far enough to identify the causes of civilian casualties, we are hopeful that the findings and recommendations will lead to meaningful reforms. To that end, we look forward to continued engagement with the Pentagon to ensure that the findings ultimately prevent future civilian casualties, and that civilians who are killed and their surviving family members are afforded the acknowledgement and amends they deserve.
“CIVIC will continue to advocate for greater transparency in reporting civilian casualties and encourages the DOD to give greater credence to civilian casualty incidents reported by external organizations.”
*Note: CIVIC was not consulted on the final product and our involvement should not be construed as an endorsement of the report, its findings, or its recommendations.
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