Why we should document every casualty of conflict

On the 17th March the UN Security Council committed to employ ‘all necessary means’ to end violence against civilians in Libya: military action began shortly after. Conflicts around the world exact a heavy toll in human life, most of which is poorly documented. However without detailed knowledge of the individuals who have died, we cannot know the true costs of conflicts. We cannot assess the harm our own military actions may cause, nor indeed weigh up the success of intervention that intends to protect civilians. Recognition and memorial of these victims is also denied. Elizabeth Minor, Researcher on Oxford Research Group (ORG)’s Recording Casualties programme, will talk about the importance of casualty recording, the effect it can have and ORG’s work to promote it. This is gathering growing international support, including on lobbying on the lack of a casualty recording by parties to the intervention in Libya, the Together Afghanistan initiative and the Oslo Commitments on Armed Violence.