ISAF maintains no uniform system of compensation for cases like these. CIVIC’s research shows that each troop contributing nation responds to civilian harm differently, often angering the local population with an either non-existing or inadequate amends policy. In June 2010, NATO’s North Atlantic Council adopted compensation guidelines with the goal of ensuring every civilian casualty is dignified with appropriate apologies, recognition and compensation for the family. These guidelines are non-binding and ISAF commanders have been given no clear guidance on how to implement them, allowing the current ad hoc system to persist.
A recent United Nations report showed that anti-government groups are responsible for 75% of the civilian harm in Afghanistan in 2010, with much of that harm resulting from such groups intentionally targeting civilians. ISAF-caused incidents of civilian casualties were reduced in 2010 thanks to tactical directives limiting close air support and requiring positive identification of targets. Yet the past month has seen three incidents of mistaken civilian harm caused by ISAF, including the deaths of children, highlighting the potential of ongoing civilian harm and the need for a standing compensation policy for all international and Afghan forces. CIVIC does not know of any compensation offered to the families.
“After ten years of conflict, it’s time the Afghan people are assured they will not be left without help when tragedy strikes,” said Holewinski. “Investigate, apologize, make amends. That is the policy Afghans deserve.”
Notes to editors:
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and 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.
For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.