Future members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows were introduced to the work of the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) during the January, 2002 person-to-person trip which brought a delegation of 9/11 family members into contact with family members of those killed during the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Organized by Medea Benjamin and Global Exchange, the trip also brought them in contact with CIVIC’s Marla Ruzica. She joined with Afghan families in demanding compensation and apologies for their loved ones lost in American military action, a cause pressed by Global Exchange, Peaceful Tomorrows and others. On April 18, 2005 Ruzica and an Iraqi colleague were tragically killed in a suicide bombing in Baghdad, but her work lives on in the efforts of CIVIC.
CIVIC seeks recognition and help for civilians caught in the crossfire of armed conflict from the warring parties themselves.
Every day, stories of civilian suffering appear in the news—from Iraq and Afghanistan to Gaza, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. You can imagine who these civilians are. Without their injuries and loss of loved ones, they had lives we would recognize as similar to our own with all the joys and trials of everyday life. Too often, these ordinary civilians lose it all in the blink of an eye and are left to mourn with no recognition and little help to recover.
Avoiding civilians in armed conflict is always the goal. Yet harm nevertheless occurs in war. Warring parties have no obligation under international laws to acknowledge the harm they cause or to assist civilians in recovery. CIVIC believes this situation is unacceptable. CIVIC is changing that status quo by challenging warring parties to recognize and help civilians harmed the world over. Their message is simple, but groundbreaking: help where you have harmed.
Warring parties fully capable of providing amends do not often hear from the civilians they harm; they hear from CIVIC and they are listening.
CIVIC urges warring parties in real time to ensure civilian dignity and provide appropriate assistance to civilians they’ve harmed. [learn more about our Healing the Wounds program]
In principle, CIVIC presses for a new standard of behavior among warring parties of dignifying and offering assistance to the civilians they harm. This coalition effort and global movement is the Making Amends Campaign. [learn more about our Making Amends Campaign]
Learn what you can do to help [click here to find out]
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