Why every casualty?

We believe no individual should die without their death being recorded. There is nothing special in this belief: it is one that all human societies have put into practice throughout history, and is reflected in the many ways in which we remember and honour the dead.

But there is still one cause of death, armed violence, whose victims not only fail to be properly recorded, but predictably occur – and fail to be recorded – en masse.

Why should these victims have their lives violently cut short with little or no effort expended to discover the circumstances, or even the very fact, of their death? And how can attempts to reduce the incidence and impact of armed violence in wars and other extreme security breakdowns succeed unless we make genuine efforts to monitor and understand the human consequences?

We know that it is possible, although often difficult, to record human losses even in the midst of armed conflict thanks to the efforts of casualty recording practitioners across the world – like those in the Casualty Recorders Network (formerly the International Practitioner Network) – who strive to ensure that the victims of armed violence are neither forgotten nor remain nameless. We also know that without truth there can be no lasting reconciliation, nor a future where the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

We are therefore committed to doing all we can to ensure that every casualty of armed violence, anywhere in the world, is properly recorded as laid out in our campaign call and the Charter for the recognition of every casualty of armed violence.

For more on the background, arguments for and benefits of casualty recording, see our campaign resources page.