Protection activities are fundamental to peacebuilding efforts and humanitarian programs. At its core, protection deals with safeguarding civilians. The international community tackles this issue through a range of different lenses, including international law, environmental issues, gender-based programs, property law and mine safety.
Global Protection Cluster
In 2005, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and Emergency Relief Coordinator, introduced the Humanitarian Reform Agenda to “ improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response through greater predictability, accountability, responsibility and partnership.” The reform created the concept of clusters: groups of humanitarian agencies together that focus on a particular response area. Protection is one of the nine clusters.
The definition of humanitarian protection differs between organizations, but at their core is a mandate to “prioritize people’s personal safety, dignity and integrity” in situations of armed conflict, post-conflict, natural disaster, famine and protracted social conflict, according to the Global Protection Cluster.
While the Food Security cluster, for example, deals with “issues of food availability, access and utilization,” the Protection cluster’s mandate is much broader and includes several sub-clusters such as child protection, gender-based violence, housing land and property issues and mine action.
Unarmed Civilian Protection & Nonviolence
Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) is an umbrella term that refers to protection and violence reduction methods and activities carried out by unarmed civilians, according to Nonviolent Peaceforce, a global nonprofit focused on unarmed strategies for civilian protection and violence reduction.
Three core requirements of UCP are “principled and practical commitment to nonviolence,” protectors with access and relationships with the local community and “local ownership,” NP founder Mel Duncan and program associate Kimberly Ai-Lin Loh noted in The Global Observatory.