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Every Casualty contributes to the Reclaiming the Protection of Civilians initiative, Oslo 2013

First published 13th Jun 2013

Casualty recording is recognised as a key factor in improving the protection of civilians during major international conference in Oslo in May 2013.

Experts and representatives from Governments, the military, humanitarian organisations and other relevant actors, came together last week at the Oslo-hosted Global Conference on Reclaiming the Protection of Civilians Under International Humanitarian Law to discuss how to strengthen the protection of civilians under international humanitarian law. The conference gathered 94 states and approximately 300 participants, including the Every Casualty Programme (ECP) at Oxford Research Group.

Photo: Kilian Munch / NMFA

Identifying practical measures to address the issue of civilian protection in conflict was one of the objectives of the conference, where  casualty recording was recognised as an essential means  to identify specific patterns of harm, enhance compliance with the law, inform effective missions to protect civilians and influence military practices in conflict.

As the  Foreign Minister of Norway highlighted in his opening speech, "Another key factor in improving the protection of civilians is ensuring that military operations and their effects on civilians are documented properly.”

ECP's Co-Director, Hamit Dardagan, was invited to address the meeting on the subject of Casualty recording and documenting harm to civilians: The need to know, where he outlined the importance of casualty recording for a wide range of actors concerned with civilian protection. His talk emphasised the central role of casualty recording in the better understanding of failures in civilian protection in order to prevent future failures; how casualty recording is already practical and being carried out by organisations across the globe in the 40-plus members of the International Practitioner's Network convened by ECP; and how states needed to do much more to fulfil their share of responsibility in ensuring that every casualty is promptly recorded, correctly identified and publicly acknowledged – the three core demands around which the Every Casualty Campaign is built.

In addition to the presentation, Hamit and ECP's Policy Officer Jacob Beswick hosted a Q&A side event on casualty recording, which was attended by state representatives and interested organisations. Some key questions, and their answers, will be published on this website in due course.

Photo: Kilian Munch / NMFA