My Free Online Course is Ready and About to Launch!

Hello everyone.

I haven’t posted for a while, mainly because I’ve been completely swamped writing with creating my free online course  which launches on Monday.  

The course is on exactly the sort of material I cover on the blog so if you’re following the blog you should seriously consider signing up for the course.  It’s called:

“Accounting for Death in War: Separating Fact from Fiction”

Advertisements

An Interesting Job in Casualty Recording!

Check out this job opportunity.

 

Closing date: 12 April 2018

Programme Development Officer

Posted by Every Casualty Worldwide

Save job

Salary £28,000 –  £32,000
Location London, Greater London
Part-time

This is an opportunity to make a unique contribution to changing the way that governments acknowledge the human cost of armed conflicts.

Job Description

We are looking for a person with a track record of effective advocacy in the area of human rights, humanitarian aid, international development or peacebuilding who can use their talents and energies to develop this work and our organisation.  This is a 4-days per week, 12-month role, with a possibility of extension. The post is home-based and the post-holder will be expected to operate primarily in London.

About Every Casualty Worldwide

Every Casualty Worldwide (ECW) works towards a world in which every casualty of armed violence, both civilian and combatant, is properly recognised. This is to give a human face to those who have paid conflict’s highest price, and also to enable a wide range of humanitarian, human-rights and peacebuilding goals.

Our project began in 2007 under the auspices of the London based think tank Oxford Research Group. In 2014 ECW became a standalone not-for-profit company, and in May 2016 was granted registered charity status (charity number 1166974). Our vision is succinctly expressed in the Charter for the Recognition of Every Casualty of Armed Violence launched at the British Academy in 2011 and endorsed by a wide range of supporting organisation.

Applicants should note that while it works closely with practitioners, ECW is not itself a casualty recording organisation but seeks to improve the state of casualty recording across the globe, including by responsible states and other conflict parties, to fulfil the core demands of the Charter that every casualty of armed conflict is ‘promptly recorded, correctly identified and publicly acknowledged’.

ECW has been working to fulfil its charitable objectives through research, capacity building, and advocacy. Our research has focused on better understanding and codifying existing and emerging casualty recording practice around the world and the various humanitarian, human rights, and peacebuilding benefits that it brings. Capacity building has revolved around establishing and maintaining the first international Casualty Recorders Network. These activities have underpinned our advocacy with states, who bear prime responsibility for ensuring compliance with existing norms.

In recent years our efforts have concentrated on the development and eventual publication in late 2016, of an international set of Standards for Casualty Recording, in consultation with and endorsed by casualty recording practitioner NGOs and key international agencies who use casualty data, such as the ICRC, the ICC, and UNOCHA. These have provided new openings for advocacy with governments around the world, as these standards allow the conversation to move from the politics around casualty numbers to the need to do casualty recording in any conflict according to a recognised set of principles and methods.

In the UK context, these developments have been further assisted by the publication in July 2016 of the Chilcot Report (“Iraq Inquiry”). Chapter 17 of the report, entitled “Civilian Casualties” draws heavily on the work of Iraq Body Count, one of ECW’s founding network members, and concludes by recommending that in future conflicts,

Government has a responsibility to make every reasonable effort to identify and understand the likely and actual effects of its military actions on civilians

and that

Government should be ready to work with others, in particular NGOs and academic institutions, to develop such assessments and estimates over time

Maximising the opportunity presented by these recommendations is a key element of ECW’s current priorities.

The immediate challenge (2018-19)

Following the publication of the Chilcot Report, the UK Government committed itself to conducting a ‘lessons learned’ investigation across Whitehall, coordinated by the National Security Adviser, into the substantive criticisms of the government made by the report. To assist this process, the MOD set up a Chilcot implementation unit tasked to find practical ways to meet the recommendations of the report.

ECW has been closely involved in the casualty recording element of this process, and is well placed to make significant contributions towards ensuring that the eventual full government response lives up to the spirit and letter of the Chilcot specific recommendations on casualty recording. In order to fully capitalise on this and other emerging opportunities we need to augment our capacity to respond rapidly and effectively to advance the issue of casualty recording both within government and in public arenas.

The UK is only one relevant actor of many, though well-placed to take an influential lead on this issue if it can be persuaded to do so. On the wider international front we also need to maintain and garner further momentum among key players who have already indicated their support for casualty recording in various ways.

The role of Programme Development Officer

This is a newly created role within the organization and the post-holder is expected to play a key part in expanding the impact and effectiveness of ECW, working alongside the co-directors. The role is focused on three organisational priorities. In order of immediate importance, they are:

  1. Ensuring an effective and appropriate UK government response to the Chilcot Report in the area of Casualty Recording;
  2. Maintaining growing international engagement with Casualty Recording on the relevant fora beyond the UK (e.g. various UN fora);
  3. Enhancing the institutional stability and sustainability of ECW.

The post-holder will report to the co-directors, and initially working closely with them while gaining the experience and subject knowledge to be able to work more independently.

Specific objectives to which the post-holder will contribute are:

  • Working with government officials, NGO and other partners to promote and assist development of policy and implementation in casualty recording;
  • Conducting targeted advocacy to stimulate government action, including identifying effective pressure points and opportunities for contributing to other relevant initiatives;
  • Elevating the importance and relevance of casualty recording in public discourse;
  • Ensuring the Casualty Recorders Network is kept informed of ECW activities and able to contribute effectively.

Specific activities to support work in these areas may include:

  • Engaging with the UK environment on a day to day basis, scanning the scene for advocacy opportunities, reaching out to relevant individuals and institutions;
  • Attending and representing ECW at relevant meetings and networking;
  • Making profile- and awareness-raising interventions ranging from short items (e.g. tweets) through to more substantive commentary (e.g op-eds, interviews with experts, etc.);
  • Monitoring national and international initiatives which the casualty recording agenda can support;
  • Keeping abreast of developments in armed conflict and other news relevant to casualty recording;
  • Assisting in the drafting of expressions of interest and full grant bids where appropriate;
  • Contributing web content to ECW website;
  • Contributing to the strategic planning processes of the organisation.

Person Specification

  • At least 3 years policy and advocacy experience in a human rights, humanitarian, peacebuilding, international development or other relevant contexts (whether government, international agency, or NGO), in a role involving networking and outreach;
  • High level of literacy in English;
  • Proven ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences, including the ability to produce compelling text and presentations;
  • Competency with standard office and communications software;
  • Ability to manage their own time and workload, using their own initiative;
  • Experience in maintaining well-organised records of activity;
  • A good understanding of the role of new and traditional media in advocacy;
  • Commitment to ideals expressed in the Charter for the Recognition of Every Casualty;
  • A good understanding of the UK government and parliamentary system, and its connections to the international system;
  • A working understanding of the international system, and the relevant fora for civil society-led or -initiated change;
  • Existing right to work in the UK.

Further particulars

This is a home-working position and the candidate must have a private space in which to work, with a reliable internet connection. This is a 4-days (30 hours) per week position, starting July 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter, but no later than August 2018. The post runs for 12 calendar months.

We would expect normal working hours, i.e. Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9 and 6, with core working hours of between 10am and 5pm, though some flexibility around working hours could be discussed. Most routine team communications as well as collaborative work will be undertaken remotely using Skype. Allowance towards phone and internet costs will be made available. A suitable laptop will be supplied if needed. The position will require easy access to central London for face-to-face ECW team or stakeholder meetings in Westminster. All travel other than for ECW team meetings will be reimbursed.

Salary will be pro-rata to the full-time range £35,000 – £40,000 per annum (i.e. actual gross salary of £28,000 – £32,000) according to qualifications and experience.  The postholder will be required to make a minimum 2% contributions to a statutory pension scheme (NEST), to which ECW will also contribute pro-rata. Although this is a 12-month position, there is a real prospect of the position’s being extended on a more long-term basis (circumstances permitting).  The current position is made possible through a generous grant from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

How to apply

Closing date for applications 12 April 2018.

Interviews will be held in London in early May.

Informal enquiries are welcomed prior to submission of a full application, and potential applicants may send a preliminary email to admin[AT]everycasualty[DOT]org

Full applications should consist of a single file (word or pdf) containing a description of no more than 1000 words demonstrating how the applicant meets the person specification and why they are applying for this position, along with a brief CV (including the names and contact details of two referees).

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.

New Paper on Accounting for Civilian War Casualties

Hello everybody.

The radio silence was much longer than intended but blog posts should start coming fast and furious now.  I’ve got a lot I want to get off my chest as soon as possible.

Let’s get the ball rolling with a new paper I have with Nicholas Jewell and Britta Jewell.  (Well, to be honest, it isn’t really a brand new paper but it’s newly accepted at a journal and we’re now putting it into the public domain.)

I dare say that this paper is a very readable introduction to civilian casualty recording and estimation, that is, to most of the subject matter of the blog.  I hope you will all have a look.

And, please, send in your comments..

More soon…..

PS – Here is an alternative link to the paper in case the first one doesn’t work for you.

 

The History of Casualty Recording and the Launch of Every Casualty’s Standards for the Field

On Thursday night I was at the London launch (following an earlier one in Geneva) of new standards for the field of casualty recording.

Every Casualty (for which I’m a Board member) and its Casualty Recorders  Network spent years preparing for this moment and it was worth the wait.

Here are the slides from my presentation.

I will link to the podcast of the event when it becomes available.  I will also link to a video of the Geneva event when it appears.  I’m particularly keen to see the video since I wasn’t able to attend the Geneva event..

Event Announcement! Casualty Recording Post-Chilcot

Casualty Recording Post-Chilcot

International Standards for the Field

Thursday 8 December 2016

1730-1900

Weston Room, Maughan Library,

Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1LR

 

The UK launch of the first-ever set of international standards for recording casualties for use in the field and as a resource for conflict analysts (published 23 November 2016).  These Standards have been developed by UK-based NGO Every Casualty over a three-year period with the intensive involvement of casualty recording organisations around the world, and of major end users such as the ICC, UNOCHA, and ICRC. The publication of these standards is particularly timely in light of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War which highlights the failure of the UK government properly to acknowledge and account for Iraqi casualties, and calls on the UK government to make every reasonable effort to identify and to understand the likely and actual effects of its military actions on civilians.

Hamit Dardagan and John Sloboda, Co-Directors of Every Casualty Worldwide, and Co-founders of Iraq Body Count.

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London

Professor Susan Breau, Head of the School of Law, University of Reading.

Professor Michael Spagat, Head of the Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London

Chris Woods, Executive Director, airwars.org.

Chair: Professor Mats Berdal

For details and to register:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/casualty-recording-post-chilcot-tickets-29370759733

New B’Tselem Report on Operation Protective Edge…and a Critic who Fires Blanks at B’Tselem

B’Tselem is one of the finest casualty recording organisations in the world so the recent publication of its report on Operation Protective Edge (July 8 – August 26, 2014) is an important moment for the field.  The report is simultaneously very good and very brief so I urge everyone to have a look.

There is a well-organised interactive page that lists each person killed (Palestinians and Israelis) by name, age and gender.  This page also provides the date, location and circumstance of each death.

A special feature of the report is that victims are classified according to whether or not they participated in hostilities (with this category sometimes left empty).  To make these calls B’Tselem looks for evidence that a victim either belonged to a combat organisation or was fighting when he/she was killed.  (See the methodology page for details).

B’Tselem clearly puts considerable effort into making and explaining their useful “participation in hostilities” classifications.  It is, therefore, frustrating to see Ben-Dror Yemini dismiss all this hard work and declare that of the 1,394 people killed while not participating in hostilities (according to B’Tselem) “the vast majority of those killed are fighters.”

How does Yemini back up his strong claim?

To see just how farfetched the NGO’s claims are, one need only look at the very data it provides, including the gender and age of each fatality. Let’s leave for a moment the group of 808 fatalities that even B’Tselem graciously admits were terrorists. We’re left with 1,394. If they were indeed all innocents, killed as a result of indiscriminate or random fire, the age distribution would be identical, or at the very least close, to the age distribution in the Gaza Strip.

But lo and behold, it turns out that the real statistics are quite different. Among those defined as innocents between the ages of 18-32, 275 are men and 127 are women. Among all fatalities aged 18-59, 1,296 are men and 247 are women. Five times(!) more men than women. Such high numbers of fighting-aged men, compared to such small numbers of women from the same age group do not point toward randomness. Such a discrepancy could not have occurred if indisriminate fire towards population centers had actually taken place.

Oh dear…..we’ve been here before.  I’m a bit embarrassed to even take this seriously but such misconceptions appear to be common so they can’t be overlooked.

From this 9/11 page we learn that:

The victims were overwhelmingly male (about 75 percent), young (many under 40, most under 50),…

Aha – on 9/11 Al-Qaeda mainly attacked fighters!  There can be no benign reason why the Twin Towers were so packed full of young males.

Indeed, in this paper we found that about 80% of the people killed by suicide bombs in Iraq were adult males (at least out of the ones for which we could find victim demographics).  It appears that Iraqi open-air markets are also packed full of legitimate targets.

OK, it’s obvious why Twin-Tower demographics didn’t match those of America as a whole but what about open-air markets in Iraq?   The answer is almost surely that women and children are generally kept away from such places since they are potential targets for suicide bombers and other attacks.

Let me by crystal clear so as to avoid misinterpretations.  I do not think that the Twin Towers were filled with fighters.  I do not think that open air markets in Iraq are filled with fighters.  And I do not think that most adult males in Gaza are fighters.  Moreover, when B’Tselem investigates and finds that a particular victim did not participate in hostilities I will not overturn this judgement just because that person was an adult male.

I’m hoping that people will pay attention to this post and stop making such wrong headed claims about adult males as a whole…at least until I reach my 60th birthday.