Protecting civilian populations in times of war

Civilian populations have increasingly become the main target of hostilities. They have increasingly become an integral part of political and military strategies. With all the horror and massive loss of life in the First World War, only ten percent of the victims were civilians. In the intervening period, civilians have come to make up the majority of the victims. As a result, protecting and upholding the rights of the civilian population today represents a central humanitarian challenge.

Civilians are no longer fundamentally viewed as extraneous to war itself, nor even used as a "base" of logistic and political support, but have become stakes in the conflict or even the very reason for it. Because of their affiliation to one group or another, defined on the basis of religious, cultural or ethnic criteria, they become the target of hostile acts and an integral part of political and military strategies.

Since the end of World War II, more than 32 million civilians, mostly women, old men and children have perished in armed conflicts.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies