On 8 February 2022, 105 organizations from the United States and around the world sent a letter to President Biden calling for an overhaul of U.S. civilian harm policies and practices. The signatories included human rights, humanitarian, protection of civilians, peacebuilding, civil liberties, social and racial justice, government accountability, veterans’, and faith-based organizations.
“For two decades, U.S. operations overseas have killed tens of thousands of civilians around the world – primarily from Brown, Black, and Muslim communities – and exacerbated communities’ humanitarian needs,” reads the letter, which was signed by organizations in the United States as well as in countries impacted by U.S. operations, including Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen. “Rather than taking effective action to prevent and respond to these harms, the Defense Department has summarily dismissed countless credible claims of civilian casualties and regularly failed to conduct effective or transparent investigations, learn lessons over time, or provide amends, redress, or meaningful accountability.”
The letter calls on President Biden to publicly recognize and address the longstanding structural flaws in how the United States mitigates, investigates, and responds to civilian deaths and injuries in its operations.
Read the letter in full here.