The purpose of the Every Casualty (EC) programme is to enhance the technical, legal and institutional capacity, as well as the political will, for every single casualty of armed conflict throughout the world to be recorded, civilian as well as combatant. Civilian deaths are particularly poorly documented, and often not recorded at all. Where death tolls are limited to purely numerical assessments, exaggerated, politicised claims and counter-claims frequently abound. By contrast, where Western nations are engaged in conflicts, they record their military dead not as numbers but by name.
Detailed, verifiable and comprehensive recording, when extended to all victims, provides both a memorial for posterity and public recognition of our common humanity. Careful and respectful records ensure that the human cost of conflict is better understood and can become an immediately applicable resource for conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery and reconciliation.
The Every Casualty programme (formerly known as the Recording Casualties of Armed Conflict programme) is divided into two parallel but interrelated streams, which complement and support each other:
Practice Stream: The Support and Development of Effective Practice in Casualty Recording
This stream focuses on those organisations and individuals that have already made direct contributions to the work of casualty recording. Our aim is to bring these organisations and individuals - previously operating in isolation - into productive dialogue and peer exchange.
The stream currently has two projects:
- The International Practitioner Network (IPN) of casualty recording organisations, a pioneer of its kind in the world whose members are all organisations that document violent deaths from conflict. The Network aims to provide a platform for the sharing of common problems, solutions and aspirations between members. The goal is to provide lasting benefit to members in their own individual work, advance members’ shared goal of strengthening practice and facilitate a more effective and united voice among practitioners. We are currently working with the IPN and other key stakeholders to develop standards in casualty recording.
- Researching Casualty Recording Practice, an ongoing research project to analyse current practice in casualty recording. The aim of researching current practice is to help develop and strengthen recording, towards establishing this activity as a robust and recognised field. Such research is of use to current casualty recorders, the grounding of future projects, and the needs of the field as a whole. It also supports well-informed advocacy for casualty recording. We are currently researching state and UN practice in casualty recording.
Advocacy Stream: The Development of International Norms and Standards
In this stream we work to develop the concepts and tools which will be necessary for governments and intergovernmental organisations to come together in a concerted effort to support the spread of effective and credible casualty recording. Our strategy includes detailed research into existing international regulatory instruments, including their unrealised potentials and possible shortcomings, and carefully-framed proposals on how to more effectively embed casualty recording within international systems. It also includes engaging individuals and organisations as well as state actors well-placed to act as champions for casualty recording on the international stage.
- We are currently engaging with a number of states and intergovernmental organisations on the issue of casualty recording, and working within the Protection of Civilians framework.
- We are also working with a growing number of civil society organisations to engage constructively with states and intergovernmental organisations through the Every Casualty Campaign, which calls for every casualty of armed violences to be promptly recorded, correctly identified and publicly acknowledged. These were the central demands of the Charter for the Recognition of Every Casualty of Armed Violence, launched in 2011 at the British Academy in London with the support of over 40 NGOs from around the world.
Our previous project in this stream is:
- Making Casualty Recording a Legal Requirement, a comprehensive investigation into the law as it applies to all aspects of casualty recording, aiming to demonstrate that the recording of casualties is consistent with commitments already made by the international community and identifying how these can be further developed.
For the latest information about the activities of Every Casualty, go to www.everycasualty.org
In this video, filmed by Daniel Ridicki for ORG in 2011, the work of the Every Casualty programme is explained by John Sloboda (Co-Director of the Every Casualty programme) and Elizabeth Minor (Research Officer of the Every Casualty Programme). The video was recorded at the launch of the Charter for the Recognition of Every Casualty, following the first conference of the ORG-facilitated International Practitioner Network of casualty recording organisations (IPN), in London in September 2011.
Past and Long-term Contributors to the Every Casualty Programme:
Dr Neta Crawford (Advisor); Dr. Eric Herring (Advisor); Hanny Megally (Advisor); Richard Moyes (Advisor); Tom Porteous (Advisor); Dr Jay Silverstein (Advisor); Mirsad Tokaca (Advisor)