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The Protection of Civilians

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sets out some of the achievements and challenges when it comes to the protection of civilians in crises and conflicts. It begins with a discussion of environment in which protection needs to take place. The civilian populations are intentionally and illegally targeted by warring parties throughout the world for both strategic tactical reasons. Civilians are indirectly and negatively affected by political and military decisions made by parties to conflict. All targeted violence against civilian populations is in itself abhorrent. Some forms of violence have a particularly devastating effect on the bonds that hold societies together and the economic basis of societies, thereby destabilizing these communities and making them a potential threat to peace and security. Among NGOs and civil society operating in conflict zones, protection is now being viewed as encompassing more than a defense against political and physical violence.

Keywords: civil society; civilian populations; NGOs; physical violence; political violence



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