group of NGOs concerned with the recording of casualties from armed violence is inviting civil society actors to give their support to a ‘Charter for the recognition of every casualty of armed violence.’ The Charter is being facilitated by Oxford Research Group and will be publicly launched at the British Academy on 15 September.

Article 36 will join others in civil society in promoting advocacy with states on the need to improve casualty recording in situations of armed violence. Existing practice and political commitments already provide a solid basis for this advocacy.

By signing the Oslo Commitments on Armed Violence in 2010, 62 states undertook to “measure and monitor the impact and incidence of armed violence” on the basis of a set of targets and indicators. These commitments explicitly relate to casualties from armed conflict and crime. The Oslo Commitments built on the 2006 Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, under which 112 States have committed themselves to “support initiatives to measure the human, social and economic costs of armed violence”.

In the context of the United Nations’ work on the Protection of Civilians, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked OCHA to develop ‘indicators for systematic monitoring and reporting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.’ These indicators should include detailed reporting on civilian casualties.

Specifically in relation to the protection of civilians from the impact of explosive weapons, the Secretary-General has also identified the reports of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on civilian casualties as ‘an example of good practice’ in this area.

The Charter for the Recognition of Every Casualty of Armed Violence is accompanied by explanatory notes aimed at answering questions that organisations may have. The substantive call that NGOs are asked to endorse is as follows:

TEXT BEGINS

We, the civil society organisations and concerned parties, who endorse this charter, call for resolute action by states to ensure that every direct casualty of armed violence is:

– Promptly recorded;

– Correctly identified; and

– Publicly acknowledged.

TEXT ENDS

Article 36 endorses the Charter and encourages other organisations concerned with the problem of armed violence to do the same. To support the Charter write to Jacob Beswick: jacob.beswick@oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk.

Posted in: Armed violence, Casualty recording, Explosive weapons, Monitoring, Protection of civilians,