This is a book about how civilians suffer in war and why people decide that they should. Most civilian suffering in war is deliberate and always has been. Massacres, rape, displacement, famine and disease are usually designed. They are policies in war. In meetings or on mobile phones, political and military leaders decide that civilians are appropriate or inevitable targets. The principle that unarmed and innocent people should be protected in war is an ancient, precious but fragile idea. Today, the principle of civilian immunity is enshrined in modern international law and cherished by many. But, in practice, leaders in most wars reject the principle.Using detailed historical and contemporary examples, "Killing Civilians" looks at the many ways in which civilians suffer in wars and analyses the main anti-civilian ideologies which insist upon such suffering. It also exposes the very real ambiguity in much civilian identity which is used to justify extreme hostility. But this is also, above all, a book about why civilians should be protected.
Throughout its pages, "Killing Civilians" argues for a morality of limited warfare in which tolerance, mercy and restraint are used to draw boundaries to violence. At the heart of the book are important new frameworks for understanding patterns of civilian suffering, ideologies of violence and strategies for promoting the protection of civilians.This is the first major treatment of the hard questions of civilian identity and protection in war for many years. Written by one of the humanitarian world's leading thinkers and former aid worker, it provides a unique and accessible text on the subject for professional and public readerships alike.
Hugo Slim is one of the world's leading commentators on international humanitarian action and the protection of civilians in war. He is a powerful communicator and much in demand as a public lecturer and an adviser to many of the world's largest humanitarian agencies.A British citizen, born in 1961, Hugo worked for several years as a frontline humanitarian worker in the Horn of Africa, the Palestinian Territories and Bangladesh for Save the Children UK and the United Nations throughout the 1980s. He then co-founded an award-winning humanitarian Masters programme at Oxford Brookes University which he led for ten years between 1994-2004.Hugo is currently Chief Scholar at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, a respected Swiss conflict resolution organization that mediates in civil wars and provides high-level political and humanitarian advice on peace processes. Hugo leads HD Centre's work on the protection of civilians in war and has overseen the publication and dissemination of three leading manuals on the subject since 2004.Educated in Theology at Oxford University, Hugo received his PhD in humanitarian ethics from Oxford Brookes University. Between 1998 and 2004, he was on the Council of Oxfam GB and an International Adviser to the British Red Cross. While an academic he also acted as a consultant and trainer to several of the world's leading humanitarian agencies, including: The International Committee of the Red Cross; the United Nations; World Vision; Save the Children; Norwegian Church Aid and OXFAM.Hugo is one of the most original and widely read of all humanitarian scholars. He is particularly valued for his accessible style, his humour and his clarity. In a relatively short academic career, he has published more than 35 journal papers, 12 book chapters and numerous consultancy reports for operational humanitarian agencies. In 2005, he published Protection: A Guide for Humanitarian Agencies (ALNAP and OXFAM). This is the first professional guide to civilian protection for aid agencies and has sold over 4000 copies worldwide. A core text for all agency training, it has been translated into Spanish and Arabic.Killing Civilians is the result of three years work which has included research visits to war zones in Liberia, Northern Uganda, Israel and Palestine. The Canadian Government and HD Centre funded this work and are also intent on supporting lecture tours and wider dissemination of the book.Hugo is married to the British writer and journalist, Rebecca Abrams, and has two children. He is the grandson of one of Britain's most famous Second World War generals, Field Marshal Bill Slim, whose XIV Army defeated the Japanese in Burma.