3.1 Key principles for a protection approach

  • Focus on safety, dignity and integrity: Keep people physically safe and preserve their personal dignity.
  • Think about law, violation, rights and responsibilities: People’s suffering as a result of conflict can often be a result of violation of international law. Their suffering and need are a result of the policy and conduct of the conflict. Violations of law impose clear humanitarian responsibilities on governments, non-state actors and individuals.
  • Ensure respect: Move beyond just giving relief, ensure respect for humanitarian and human-rights norms.
  • Build on people’s own self-protection capacity: Affirm people’s own knowledge, capacity, insight and innovation in a threatening situation, and seek ways to build this into an emergency project.
  • Work with clear protection outcomes and indicators: Have a good understanding of what people’s lives would be like if they were protected, and develop appropriate indicators and means of verification to work towards this outcome.
  • Prioritise complementary/joint interagency work: Develop a basic understanding of the different agencies involved in the emergency response and their mandates, protection priorities and expertise. In some cases, mandated agencies such as UNHCR will take the lead on protection. This means that CARE still has a role to play in supporting fulfilment of this mandate.
  • Prevent counter-protective programming or behaviour: Be aware of your activities, attitudes and behaviour, and how this can negatively affect the people you are working with. Well-intentioned advocacy action on an international level regarding a particular emergency might produce a terrible backlash against national staff and the programmes.
  • Be courageous but realistic about your agency’s limits: In many cases where conflict is the catalyst for an emergency, CARE does not have the mandate or the means to protect people. We need to recognise this to ensure our programming is realistic and to avoid raising expectations.
    Source: Annex 31.1 Protection: An ALNAP guide for humanitarian agencies (pp.112-113)