Robin Lloyd/ECHO (2014)

Book: ‘On Civilian Harm’

What negative effects of the use of force do civilians experience in conflict beyond the direct, physical impacts? And how can we reduce both immediate and long-term suffering in future missions? We address these and other questions in our book ‘On Civilian Harm.’


Comprehensive book on the realities of civilian harm

In our work at PAX, we have identified three problems in how civilian harm by violent conflict is discussed. First, we need to overcome the outdated notion that war is too chaotic to really understand what is happening on the ground. Second, as a community of practice, we often fail to use clear and consistent language when talking about civilian harm. And finally, we noticed that public and professional attention is overwhelmingly focused on only a single, visible part of civilian harm – ‘the wounded and the dead’ – obscuring other negative effects that remain long after the fighting has stopped.

In ‘On Civilian Harm,’ we explore the ways in which civilians are negatively affected by violent conflict, offer tools and language to discuss the phenomenon, make practical recommendations for civilian harm mitigation and raise questions for further debate.

The entire book or its individual chapters are available for download below.

Robin Lloyd/ECHO (2014)

Video book launch, June 17, 2021



Introduction video



Read the full book


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Chapter 17 "On Civilian Harm": Conclusion. Towards a Shared Understanding of Civilian Harm.
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Chapter 16 "On Civilian Harm": Key Factors. Causing or Mitigating Harm
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Chapter 15 "On Civilian Harm": Perpetrators. Types, Intentions, Responsibility
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Chapter 14 "On Civilian Harm": Victims. The Human Cost of Violent Conflict
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"On Civilian Harm": Introduction
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