News & Investigations

News & Investigations

President Joe Biden holds a meeting with military and civilian defense leadership, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, April 2022 (Image via DoD)

Published

July 8, 2022

Written by

Airwars Staff

Airwars joins partners in publishing guidance to the US Department of Defense (DoD), ahead of its own civilian harm review

Recommendations published today urge the Department of Defense to revise its assessment and investigation processes, including through practical steps such as routinely engaging with civil society to ensure that civilian harm policies are informed by civilians affected by US and partnered actions, and casualties are recorded and tracked through transparent processes that are fit for purpose.

Airwars joined Amnesty International USA, CARE, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Human Rights Watch, Humanity & Inclusion, InterAction, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam America, and PAX in preparing and publishing the recommendations.

Read the full list of recommendations here.

To date, serious concerns with US civilian harm policies undermine effective routes to accountability for affected populations. These concerns have been raised by civil society and in recent Pulitzer-prize winning investigations in the New York Times.

While the US reform process is intended to be forward-looking, significant questions still remain about civilians harmed in US and partnered operations over the past two decades – not least in the war against the Islamic State. Overall, the US-led Coalition has conceded killing at least 1,437 civilians in the war against ISIS – while Airwars believes the likely tally could be significantly higher; with between 8,192 and 13,243 civilian deaths recorded in the Airwars archive.

▲ President Joe Biden holds a meeting with military and civilian defense leadership, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, April 2022 (Image via DoD)