A civilian is someone who is not a member of the military. The word can also refer to a person who does not take part in the fighting or support the war effort. Civilians may be harmed by war, especially in non-international armed conflicts and in international armed conflicts where it is difficult to distinguish combatants from the civilian population. The concept of civilian is central to international humanitarian law, which aims to limit the effects of armed conflict on people.
It is important to note that the civilian definition under international humanitarian law differs from the civilian definition in criminal law. A civilian under criminal law is someone who has not committed a crime against humanity, while the civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who has not taken part in the armed conflict and has not been designated as a combatant.
Civilians are at risk of suffering from indiscriminate and foreseeable harm in armed conflict, due to the failure of state and non-state parties to take all feasible precautions in the conduct of hostilities. Such harm is often unavoidable, but it is possible to limit its impact on civilians through better implementation of the laws of war and more effective protection by NGOs and other organizations.
The meaning of civilian as a non-military person is relatively new, dating back only to the early 19th century. Before that, the term referred to the code of law that governed non-military life.
Despite the differences between military and civilian life, many veterans find transitioning to civilian life very challenging. Among the most difficult changes are financial issues, such as the loss of government assistance in housing, education and healthcare. To minimize these difficulties, it is important for a servicemember to carefully plan his or her budget and be frugal in the early stages of civilian life.
Another major difference between civilian and military life is that the former involves a strong sense of community, while the latter has an “every man for himself” mentality. This can make civilians feel lonely, particularly if they live far from their families or other servicemembers. To combat this problem, servicemembers should try to build a network of civilian friends and acquaintances before leaving the military.
Military life requires a high level of responsibility and accountability, and the need to live up to strict working and presentation standards. In contrast, civilian work is less demanding and provides greater flexibility in schedules. However, it is important to remember that civilian jobs also have their own expectations and requirements. It is vital to research and apply for the right position, in order to maximize your career potential. In addition, servicemembers who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree should consider applying for military tuition assistance or taking advantage of civilian employer-sponsored educational programs. In addition to these programs, there are numerous online resources for military members who are making the transition to civilian life. These websites can provide information about specific education programs, such as the steps that must be taken and the guidelines that must be followed in order to participate.