Do not be a perpetrator. Do not be a bystander. Do not be a victim.
Many have asserted that there are three main determinants of civilian survival amid violence: the actions of belligerent parties, of third parties, and of the endangered civilians themselves.
Belligerents are not commonly guided by self-restraint. There always have been and always will be times when they perpetrate atrocities for reasons of greed, power, hate, vengeance, fear and manipulated ignorance. At the same time, third parties are too often guided by self-interest. There always have been and always will be times when they stand down from sworn duties to protect, providing only démarches and humanitarian fig leaves. That leaves civilians themselves, who typically possess remarkable capacity for self-preservation. They refuse to be victims.
The Center for Civilians in Harm’s Way will work with any who believe these are basic truths. Many of the best and the brightest in the aid world have long urged that we do more to support local capacity to survive alone before we lose any meaningful influence or access amid violence—but no such approach has yet been systematized throughout the aid industry. The Center will work with specialists, aid agencies, donors, émigrés and exiles to help make it happen.