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Darfur, Sudan. USHMM/Brian Steidle.

Ongoing Mass Killing

Countries Currently Experiencing Mass Killing

We update this list of countries experiencing state- and nonstate-led mass killing annually. We consider a mass killing to have occurred when the deliberate actions of armed groups—including but not limited to state security forces, rebel armies, and other militias—result in the deaths of at least 1,000 noncombatant civilians who are targeted as part of a specific group, over a period of one year or less. We determine a mass killing to have ended when fewer than 100 civilians of the target group are killed for three consecutive years.

To determine onsets and terminations, we draw on any publicly available datasets, reports of international organizations, governments, and NGOs (i.e. United Nations, US government, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, et al.), and media reports. When there is a “close call” or fatality totals vary widely between sources, we also may call upon experts to assist in our determinations.

Campaigns that systematically kill civilians include, but are not limited to, policies which intentionally kill civilians en masse (e.g., military strategies that intentionally target civilians, mass execution of a specific group) and policies that knowingly result in widespread death (e.g., mass starvation, confiscation of health care supplies, forced relocation).

In general, unrelated executions of individuals or the accidental killing of civilians in war (“collateral damage”) will not be considered a systematic campaign to kill civilians. If an armed group is engaged in multiple campaigns that systematically kill civilians (e.g., in different geographic areas, or targeted against separate civilian groups) those fatalities will be counted as separate onsets.

Photo above: Darfur, Sudan. USHMM/Brian Steidle.

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