For Immediate Release
PAKISTAN: Security Forces Must Investigate Incidents of Civilian Harm and Make Amends
WASHINGTON - The possible deaths of two civilians caused last week by Pakistani
security forces highlights the need for Pakistan to thoroughly
investigate all claims of civilian harm and offer apologies and
compensation if appropriate, the Campaign for Innocent Victims of
Conflict said today.
"Combat operations in Pakistan have been ongoing without any proper way
to investigate civilian harm or make amends for casualties," said Sarah
Holewinski, executive director of CIVIC. "It's time Pakistan shows its
concern for the civilian population."
In the latest incident, the two civilian casualties reportedly occurred
when Pakistani security forces fired at two passenger buses traveling
after a military-imposed curfew in Darra Adamkhel in Northwest Pakistan.
According to media reports, officials said the drivers were probably
unaware of the curfew imposed earlier that day. The incident underscores
the danger to civilians in and around Orakzai Agency where fighting in
recent months between the Pakistani Military and militants has displaced
over 150,000 people.
CIVIC noted that the civilian population expects greater responsibility
to be taken for civilian casualties. In December, a Pakistani military
airstrike in Orakzai allegedly killed at least 10 civilians, including
four women and five children. Hundreds of residents protested that
incident and demanded the government provide financial assistance to the
"By ignoring the vast majority of civilian harm, the Pakistani military
is compounding suffering in the population and fueling distrust of
military operations," Holewinski said. "The equation is simple-protect
civilians, investigate harm and make amends when harm occurs."
Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) advocates on behalf of victims of armed conflict, working to ensure they receive recognition and assistance from warring parties. CIVIC persuaded the US Congress to establish programs for war victims in Afghanistan and Iraq, guides victims to assistance, brings the human cost of war to the attention of policymakers and the public, and is advocating a new global standard of conduct that warring parties should help where they have hurt.