Note: Some humanitarian organizations refer to “civil-military relations.” However, CARE uses “interacting with armed actors,” as CARE commonly engages with a range of actors, including non-state armed groups, peacekeeping troops, police, and security contractors, in addition to militaries.

As an operational development and humanitarian confederation, CARE and its partners may need to interact with armed actors for a variety of reasons, such as to negotiate and maintain access to people in need of assistance; share or gather information to keep themselves or others safe; or to advocate for compliance with international law.

These interactions might take place in various settings, including during complex emergencies, conflicts, peacetime, and responses to natural hazards. While these interactions may be necessary (and could even be beneficial), CARE and partner staff must remember that our objectives differ from those of armed actors. Consequently, all interactions with armed actors carry inherent risks. These include risks to the safety and security of CARE and/or partner staff or program participants, as well as to CARE’s reputation and how CARE and partners are perceived in particular contexts and around the world. These risks, and CARE’s decision of whether or how to interact with particular armed actors, will vary depending on circumstances and context, and may change over time.