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Every Casualty joins scholars from Palestine, Serbia at symposium on Intervention

First published 18th Jul 2014

Three members of the Every Casualty team, including Senior Research Officer Elizabeth Minor, Senior Advocacy Officer Hana Salama, and Co-founder Hamit Dardagan, spoke last month at an international symposium hosted by the Centre for International Intervention at the University of Surrey. ‘On the Receiving End of Intervention: Methods in Human Security’ was held from 16-17 June and welcomed practitioners and academics to contribute to a dialogue about intervention from the perspective of those on the receiving end. Particular focus was given to the conflicts in Palestine and the former Yugoslavia, with scholars and students joining the two-day event from Birzeit University and Al-Azhar-Gaza in the Palestinian Territories, and the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS) at FMK Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia. 

Speaking on a panel entitled ‘Casualty Recording: Methods’ on the first day of the conference, Elizabeth Minor presented on ‘The Field of Casualty Recording: A Spectrum of Approaches’. Addressing the range of methods employed by recorders, Minor’s paper detailed the number of purposes served by casualty recording, including evidence based violence reduction policies, academic analysis, and justice and accountability procedures. Minor was joined on the panel by Every Casualty Programme consultant, Michael Spagat who discussed casualty recording and statistical estimation efforts from conflicts as far past as the US Civil War and World War 1, building up to an exploration of what the future of the field might hold. 

Later in the day, Senior Advocacy Officer Hana Salama joined scholars from London and Palestinian universities on the panel, ‘On the Receiving End of International Intervention.’ Salama, who spoke on ‘The Role of Casualty Recording in Multilateral Interventions’, discussed how data collected from casualty recording can be extremely useful to planning and conducting protection activities within UN peacekeeping operations. Drawing on the findings of Every Casualty’s recent report on the UN’s role in casualty recording, and UNAMA’s relative success of using casualty data to better protect civilians in conflict, Salama recommended ways in which both member states and the UN could better implement casualty recording. 

EC's Elizabeth Minor and Hamit Dardagan are joined by Mkhaimar Abusada, Basem Ezbidi, Furrukh Khan and Marie Breen-Smyth on the closing roundtable, June 17 2014

On the closing roundtable held at the end of the second day, Hamit Dardagan and Elizabeth Minor discussed how to ensure that data collected from casualty recording is put to use for beneficial purposes with scholars from Palestine and Pakistan, as well as the symposium chair, Surrey Politics professor Marie Breen-Smyth. Roundtable participants raised the concern that casualty data may be co-opted for particular political agendas, with Breen-Smyth noting that data she had produced on casualties in Northern Ireland was often manipulated by different political communities to suit particular victim narratives. The role of casualty data in forming collective memory was raised throughout symposium, and is one that the Every Casualty programme looks forward to exploring in greater detail in the future. 

To see the full programme of the event please click here