Page last updated at 01:57 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 02:57 UK

Civilians 'bear the brunt of war'

A Georgian woman stands near a damaged apartment block in Gori, Georgia
Residential buildings were hit during the conflict in Georgia

Civilians bear the brunt of modern conflict, a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross suggests.

The report, called "Our world, views from the field" asked 4,000 civilians from eight countries to relate their personal experiences of war.

Of those, 44% said they had witnessed armed conflict first hand and one in three had seen a relative killed.

The countries were Afghanistan, Georgia, Haiti, Liberia, DR Congo, Colombia, Lebanon and the Philippines.

More than half - 56% - said they had been forced to leave their homes and almost half had lost contact with a loved one.

The research was commissioned to mark the 150th anniversary of an event that became the inspiration for the founding of the Red Cross movement.

Henri Dunant founded the organisation after witnessing the dead and dying soldiers at the battle of Solferino during the Italian wars of independence.

The fighting in 1859 caused 40,000 military casualties but only one civilian death.

Today, says Red Cross director of operations, Pierre Krähenbuhl, civilians are the chief sufferers in war.

The report also suggests that most civilians caught up in war turn first to relatives or friends for help, a sign, the ICRC says, that more needs to be done to support those carers.

US 'to limit Afghan air strikes'
22 Jun 09 |  South Asia
Concern over Afghan civilian death toll
11 Jul 08 |  South Asia
Analysis: The rules of war
08 Jun 07 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific