Norms of Protection

Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and their Interaction

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A series of humanitarian tragedies in the 1990s (Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, Kosovo) demonstrated the failure of the international community to protect civilians in the context of complex emergencies. These brought to life two norms of protection – Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Protection of Civilians (POC) – both deeply rooted in the empathy that human beings have for the suffering of innocent people. Both norms raise concerns of misinterpretation and misuse. They are developing – sometimes in parallel, sometimes diverging and sometimes converging – with varying degrees of institutionalization and acceptance. This book engages in a profound comparative analysis of the norms and aims to serve policy-makers at various levels; practitioners with protective roles; academics and researchers; civil society and R2P and POC advocates.



The protection of civilians in armed conflict: Four concepts

For thousands of years, myriad cultures across the globe have developed principles aiming to protect unarmed populations from violence at the hands of the armed. Since the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 such efforts have fallen under the rubric of the Protection of Civilians (POC). This chapter details the nature of POC in the contemporary context. It argues that while all POC actors have a broadly shared understanding of the core concerns of POC – the basic rights of non-combatants and the types of violence that threaten them – the different perspectives, resources and powers possessed by separate types of POC actors make those actors develop distinct POC roles and responsibilities.


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