Governments ignoring civilian victims of war
The conflict in Pakistan has exacted an immense toll on civilians,
but the US and Pakistani Governments, aid agencies and even military
officials pay little attention to their plight, says a US pressure group
which works for civilian victims caught in armed conflicts.
The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, a Washington-based
NGO, notes that there were probably more civilian casualties – 2,100
deaths – in Pakistan in 2009 than in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The civilian casualties, the group warns, will have substantial
humanitarian and security consequences, causing the Pakistani Government
to lose its credibility.
“Losses have a long-lasting and devastating impact on civilians’
lives, provoke anger, and undermine the legitimacy of the Pakistani
Government,” warns author, Christopher Rogers.
“CIVIC’s research in Pakistan shows that war victims demand and
expect warring parties to recognise their losses and make amends to help
But the report regrets that despite the severity and consequences of
these losses, civilian casualties “receive too little attention from US,
Pakistani, and donor-nation policymakers, as well as military
The report, however, notes the Pakistani Government has created a
compensation mechanism for deaths, injuries and property damage and the
US Congress last year appropriated $10 million or a special fund to aid
civilian war victims in Pakistan.
Despite these burgeoning efforts, CIVIC’s research shows serious
deficiencies and gaps in care that leave many victims without
recognition or assistance.
Many war victims are losing hope that the Pakistani Government will
make good on its promise to provide compensation. Others must cope with
devastating conflict losses while also being displaced, particularly
following record floods in August.
Some of the findings of the research are as follows: Significant
civilian casualties are caused by Pakistani military operations; US
drone strikes, militant and terror attacks, and other forms of
conflict-related violence such as unexploded ordnance and sectarian