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PAX Book Launch – On Civilian Harm

What: Launch of the PAX book ‘On Civilian Harm’, with live panel discussion.

When:Thursday 17 June 2021, 15:00 – 17:00 CEST (Amsterdam) / 9.00-11.00 am EDT (New York) / 09.00-11.00 pm CST (Beijing).

Where: via ZOOM

‘On Civilian Harm’ – book launch

What harm do civilians in conflict experience beyond direct injury and loss of life and loved ones? What happens when their houses are destroyed or jobs are lost? What are the consequences of damage to civilian infrastructure?

On 17 June 2021, PAX’s Protection of Civilians team kindly invites you to participate in the launch of its book ‘On Civilian Harm’. The book addresses these and other questions, directing attention to the broader negative impact that violent conflict and international interventions can have on civilians beyond ‘the wounded and the dead’.

Join us for the launch, where the authors and various civilian harm experts will discuss civilian harm in contemporary conflict, the need for and the relevance of the publication, and the lessons the book offers for security actors, policy makers and practitioners around the world.


Register here

The event is open to all who are interested. Whether you are a practitioner, student, policy maker, researcher, or just interested in how civilians experience (the aftermath of) conflict, the launch offers something to all.

Find more information about the speakers and detailed program on the Protection of Civilians website, follow our Twitter account for the most recent updates. Read more about the book ‘On Civilian Harm’.

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Civilian harm

In today’s conflicts, civilians continue to be harmed in large numbers: they may lose loved ones, become injured, lose their homes or sources of income, or suffer potentially long-term psychological trauma. Preventing and understanding civilian harm in its broadest sense, as encompassing more than merely the ‘wounded and dead’, is vital in the practice of protecting civilians from the negative effects of violent conflict.

While many actors in the field use the term ‘civilian harm’, there can be significant differences in how it is used and what it is considered to encompass. Military actors often narrow civilian harm down to civilian deaths and physical injuries that are the direct result of military action. The PAX Protection of Civilians team strongly advocates for a broader understanding of civilian harm, which does not obscure the harm done to civilians when their houses, hospitals or schools are damaged, when their livelihood gets disrupted, or when they suffer mental trauma. Such indirect, or second- and third-order effects are often neglected in policy and public discourse in favor of more visible manifestations of civilian harm; we advocate application of a broader and more realistic understanding of civilian harm. Only if we understand the myriad ways in which military action may negatively affect civilians can we truly monitor and evaluate its full costs.

To inform our partners, military and humanitarian actors, as well as the general public, PAX’s Protection of Civilians team has created a publication about civilian harm and its consequences.

Photo header: Dietrich Klose, cc via Flickr.