What Is a Civilian?

posted in: News | 0

A civilian is a non military person. This word has been around for hundreds of years, but in the early 19th century it began to refer to people who did not belong to a particular group or society, like judges, lawyers, and professors. Later, it came to mean people who did not work in a military or police force, and in modern times it has come to mean someone who does not do something for the government.

Civilians are a vital part of our society and economy. They provide services, such as hospitals and schools, that keep our communities healthy and strong. They also play an important role in our democracy by voting and participating in political life. Civilians are a key to the peace and security of our world.

In international humanitarian law, the term civilian means any person who is not a member of an armed force. This definition has been codified in a number of treaties, including the Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Similarly, the term protected person is used to describe persons who are considered to be civilians by virtue of their status under customary international humanitarian law. In the pre-trial brief in the Tadic case, the ICTY Prosecutor noted that the definition of civilian in Article 5 of the ICTY Statute (crimes against humanity) was consistent with the customary meaning of civilian under international humanitarian law.

The term civilian has a broad application, and it can include those who work in a wide range of occupations, from agriculture to nursing to construction. In general, civilians do not serve in the armed forces, although there are some exceptions, such as members of volunteer corps and militias that form part of a party to a conflict. The Appeals Chamber notes that the presence within a civilian population of members of resistance armed groups or former combatants who have laid down their arms does not deprive such a population of its civilian character.

Transitioning from military life into civilian life can be a challenge for service members and their families. Friendships that developed during military service may not always translate to the civilian life, and finding a community of like-minded people who understand your experiences can be difficult.

Financial changes can also be challenging for civilians who have been accustomed to military benefits and assistance. Budgeting and saving for healthcare, education, and housing can be overwhelming for a former servicemember who has never done this before. It is important to remember that civilian medical bills can be much higher than those for military members.

In addition, many civilians are displaced by conflict. This can have devastating effects on their lives and livelihoods, and has the potential to undermine human rights, exacerbate risks and the impacts of war on health, education, and critical infrastructure, and aggravate food insecurity and disease transmission. The safety of civilians is a top priority for the United Nations, which works to protect people in situations of armed conflict and crisis.