What Is a Civilian?

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A civilian is a person who is not an active member of any military, police, or fire fighting organization. The term is also used to refer to someone who follows the pursuits of civil life rather than a religious or clerical career.

Civilians do many different jobs for the federal government, including working as teachers, bankers, engineers, doctors, and police officers. They are paid hourly or salary and receive tax advantages. Civilian workers do not receive pay for housing or food like members of the armed forces, but they may be eligible for health and dental benefits.

One of the most common struggles that service members face after transitioning back into civilian life is finding a sense of community. Military crews become like a family, and it can be difficult to leave that crew behind when returning to civilian life. For this reason, it is important for service members to network as much as possible and reach out to veteran resources that help manage finances, find jobs, and provide support during the transition back into civilian life.

While the civilian lifestyle is not without its challenges, it offers many more opportunities for personal growth. The flexibility of being able to take advantage of educational programs at a local university or college is a huge benefit that can make civilian life seem more appealing than it once was.

The freedom that civilians enjoy is often not taken for granted. In some countries, such as Syria, civilians are subject to oppressive governmental regimes that can lead to a loss of life and liberty. Civilians are also at risk of being caught in the crossfire between two belligerent sides in an armed conflict, and they can lose protection under international law.

Under international humanitarian law, a civilian is a person who does not belong to any regular armed force that is taking part in hostilities. However, it is not always easy to distinguish between combatants and civilians, especially in the context of internal armed conflicts where a clear distinction may be impossible to make. Civilians who take direct part in hostilities are deprived of civilian status and are entitled to the protection provided under international humanitarian law, but they are not exempt from prosecution for violations of domestic and international law that they commit during a conflict.

It is crucial for a civilian to understand their rights and seek legal assistance if they are wrongfully accused of violating military or civilian law. Whether fighting to avoid a court martial on their record or trying to fight unfair penalties and jail time, a skilled lawyer can help them resolve the situation in their favor. The sooner a civilian enlists legal assistance, the faster they can return to their lives and start rebuilding their future. Civilian is an important word in the military vocabulary, but it can be confusing for those who are not familiar with its definition. Learn more about this common military term by reading the following article.