Tombs of unknown soldiers honor those whose lives were lost defending liberty. America’s rests in Arlington National Cemetery. France’s sits under the towering Arc de Triomphe in Paris, while Britain’s Grave of the Unknown Warrior rests in Westminster Abby.
On September 26 in Paris, Humanity & Inclusion unveiled the world’s first Monument to the Unnamed Civilian. The goal? To denounce the devastating pattern of modern conflict, which harms innocent civilians over and over again. In Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and other countries ravaged by urban bombing and shelling, the damages are so grave that civilians bear 90% of casualties—a figure that seems to mock the rules of war.
Aleppo, Raqqa, Mosul, Sana'a—in the past decade, these cities have become symbols of disregard for civilian lives. The images we see are nearly carbon copies of each other—intense shelling and fighting in the heart of cities, with civilians' bodies and minds torn apart in the blast.
Humanity & Inclusion teams tend to the physical and mental anguish wrought by such bombings, and, true to our founding revolt against weapons targeting civilians, HI demands that the international community act right now to protect civilians.
At the Vienna Conference on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare, on October 1st and 2nd, States (countries), and groups like Humanity & Inclusion, will gather to discuss and address this topic. The hope is that they’ll emerge from Vienna with a draft political declaration stopping the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This monument, and the innocent lives it represents, must be a signal for States to join this historic political process.