A civilian under international humanitarian law (also known as the laws of war) is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation. The term "civilian" is also often used metaphorically to refer to people who are not members of a particular profession or occupation, especially by civilian law enforcement agencies, which often adopt rank structures emulating those of military units.
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