The annual PAX Protection of Civilians conferences are initiated by the Protection of Civilians (PoC) department of PAX as part of its partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2020 – PAX Protection of Civilians Conference
On December 1-3, 2020, the PAX Protection of Civilians team will engage communities in conflict, mission staff, multilateral institutions, diplomats, military service members, civil society, researchers and anyone with the ambition to work towards the protection of civilians on three key themes: National Contributions to PoC, People and Protection, and the Reverberating Effects of Civilian Harm. It will provide participants with diverse backgrounds and perspectives the opportunity to share knowledge, lessons learned, and ideas for how to advance the field. International interaction will be facilitated through live virtual panels, surveys, Q&A sessions, and pre-recorded messages from the field.
A detailed program of this conference is available here:
- Draft program PAX Protection of Civilians Conference 2020, December 1-3
(updated on October 19)
The invitation for this conference is available here:
- Germany’s long military mission in Afghanistan
- Nineteen years after the 9/11 attacks, German troops are still in Afghanistan – the bloodiest mission in Germany’s postwar history. Amid talk of US withdrawal, Deutsche Welle looks at the Bundeswehr’s accomplishments and failures in Afghanistan.
- Oxford Research Group – Fusion Doctrine in Five Steps: Lessons Learned from Remote Warfare in Africa
- This report discusses how the roll out of the UK’s new Fusion Doctrine can better address the problems facing Africa. The report highlights that while Fusion Doctrine may be well-suited to addressing crises, it struggles to create “routine fusion” which brings key stakeholders together to build sustainable peace and security.
- United Kingdom Approach to Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
- This policy brief provides an update to March 2020 on the UK approach to the Protection of Civilians (PoC) in armed conflict situations. It builds on the UK’s PoC strategy paper published in 2010, and has been drafted following consultation with non-governmental organisations, civil society, academics and others.
- Oxford Research Group – Forging a New Path: Prioritising the Protection of Civilians in the UK’s Response to Conflict
- This report by Liam Walpole and Megan Karlshøj-Pedersen examines the challenges that remote warfare poses to civilians in modern conflict and the United Kingdom’s current safeguarding mechanisms.
- WarPod Episode #20 | Incorporating the Protection of Civilians into UK Policy
- In this podcast, Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen is joined by Ewan Lawson, an ORG Fellow, and Save the Children’s Amanda Brydon to discuss the importance of incorporating a strong focus on the protection of civilians into UK policy and how this may factor in the forthcoming Integrated Review.
- Advisory Council on International Affairs – The Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts: Well-trodden Paths and New Ways Forward
- In this advisory report, the Advisory Council on International Affairs argues that the existing instruments for the protection of the civilian population in armed conflicts are insufficiently effective and that new modalities should be sought.
- Stimson Center – Operationalizing Protection of Civilians in NATO Operations
- This paper, written by Marla Keenan and Alexander W. Beadle, identified elements of what NATO needed to consider for a policy on the Protection of Civilians to be comprehensive and successful. They addressed conceptual and practical recommendations, including that NATO should consider protection from their actions as well as from the activities of other armed groups.
- Oxford Research Group – No Such Thing as a Quick Fix: The Aspiration-Capabilities Gap in British Remote Warfare
- The current gap between aspirations and activities heightens the risk that contemporary British military activity is not sufficiently integrated into an overarching political strategy. This report by Emily Knowles and Abigail Watson is a first attempt to evaluate the gaps between contemporary strategies and activities in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
- Contributing to Human Security through training: a mission impossible?
- This conference, organised by PAX’s PoC team, focused on both training Troop/Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) in the case of pre-deployment for UN missions and bilateral training programs Security Force Assistance (SFA) such as Flintlock. This report reflects on the conference and aims to summarise its proceedings.
- Virtual Panel – Training for the Protection of Civilians
- On June 1, 2020, the Governments of Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Rwanda, and Uruguay, in partnership with PAX, convened a virtual panel of training experts and policy-makers to reflect on the challenges and best practices of contributions to UN peacekeeping training aimed at improving the capacities of UN peacekeeping operations to fulfill their mandates to protect civilians. This virtual event took place on the sidelines of the May 27, 2020, UNSC Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians.
- Al Jazeera – South Sudan counts human cost of deadly cattle raids
- For many in South Sudan, cattle are regarded as a symbol of wealth. But they are often stolen by rival communities in violent and sometimes deadly raids. Local organisations say more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in cattle raids since South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reports from Rumbek.
- Saferworld – South Sudan cattle raids and small arms control
- In this video, Saferworld sets out the problem of small arms proliferation in South Sudan and how we are working with the government and local partners to encourage dynamic and strategic solutions to prevent violent cattle raiding.
- CIVIC – Protection Through Dialogue: How UNMISS is Linking Local Engagement with a National Peace Process in South Sudan
- Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) carried out interviews in Juba and Yei between December 2019 and February 2020 to assess the implementation of UNMISS’s new program of work. This Issue Brief summarizes CIVIC’s research findings and highlights good peacekeeping practices.
- Evaluation of the contribution of the UNMISS Civil Affairs Division to the reduction of local conflict in South Sudan.
- This evaluation report determined the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of the activities of the Civil Affairs Division (CAD) of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and their plausible contribution to local conflict reduction in the country. Amongst the missions’ largest civilian component, CAD led the missions’ efforts to reduce conflict at the local level.
- Stimson Center – Perceptions of Security Among Internally Displaced Persons in Juba, South Sudan
- This brief synthesises voices of internally displaced persons seeking protection at United Nations peacekeeping operation bases in Juba, South Sudan.
- Bayan Center – Iraqi Woman: Fears of a New Economic Crisis
- Iraqis have always faced crises in different periods like what happened after the United Nations Security Council issued economic sanctions against Iraq in 1990, which lasted for years. They have adapted to a way of life to interact smoothly with the crisis. The situation is different now.
- SIPRI – Tensions on Iraqi soil likely to overshadow anti-government protest demands
- Dr O’Driscoll commentates on the significance of the continuing Iraqi protests, and asks if attention has been drawn away from the underlying issues driving these protests by the increased tensions between the US and Iran.
- Ninewa Plains and Western Ninewa: Barriers to Return And Community Resilience
- This report is a meta-analysis of the vast literature on Ninewa IDPs and the barriers to their return. It covers important analytical and contextual gaps with firsthand research to inform and enhance stakeholder policies.
- CIVIC – ‘Let Us Be Part of It’ Community Engagement by the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan
- This CIVIC report provides a look at how military, police, and civilian components of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in South Sudan (UNMISS) are engaging communities to understand and address civilian protection concerns. The report highlights the importance of UNMISS personnel conducting strategic and coordinated engagement activities and ensuring that information collected from civilians is used to inform operational decisions.
- ASPR – “Don’t Take This Away from Us Again” Citizen Perceptions of Peace in South Sudan
- This policy brief by the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) discusses the preliminary results from the first stage of research in their research project “Perceptions of Peace in South Sudan”. This research project seeks to investigate, document, and draw from policy lessons from citizen perceptions of the peace process in South Sudan.
- CIVIC – “We Just Want Someone to Protect Us” Civilian Protection Challenges in Kirkuk
- This policy brief analyzes the protection threats affecting civilians in Kirkuk due to the existence of ISIS cells still active in the governorate. It also assesses the response of security forces to these threats, the efforts by the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the ISF to improve security in the governorate and ensure the safety of its inhabitants, and the trust deficit between civilians and security actors.
- “What If He Were Innocent?:” Insights into CIVIC’s Engagement with the Nineveh Police
- This short blog provides practical insights into a CIVIC protection of civilians workshop for the Nineveh police. It illustrates how this workshop affected the particular way police officers conducted security checks.
- PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey Iraq – Dashboard
- This dashboard shows the results of PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey (HSS) in Iraq.
- PAX PoC teams’s Human Security Survey Iraq – Methodology
- This document details the methodology developed by PAX’s PoC team for conducting representative surveys on civilian security perceptions and experiences in Iraq.
- PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey Iraq – Publications
- All publications related to PAX PoC’s HSS Iraq.
- PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey South Sudan – Dashboard
- This dashboard shows the results of PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey (HSS) in South Sudan.
- PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey South Sudan – Methodology
- This document details the methodology developed by PAX’s PoC team for conducting representative surveys on civilian security perceptions and experiences in South Sudan.
- PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey South Sudan – Publications
- All publications related to PAX PoC’s HSS South Sudan.
- PAX PoC team’s Human Security Survey – Stories
- Stories of the PAX PoC’s HSS.
- The opportunity for local peacebuilding interventions: the case of Kirkuk
- Dr O’Driscoll’s essay highlights core areas where there is an opportunity for local peacebuilding interventions that will affect a real change in the everyday lives of Kirkukis.
- IOM Iraq – Perceptions of Police, Security and Governance in Iraq
- This report by IOM Iraq and Yale Law School’s Center for Global Legal Challenges compares survey findings evaluating civilians’ attitudes and behaviors towards providers of security and justice; their perceptions of the legitimacy of the Iraqi government; police officers’ attitudes and behaviors toward civilians; and the prevalence of crime and violence.
- National Democratic Institute – Focus Group Report: Iraqi Citizens Continue to Demand More Responsive Governance
- This report details a qualitative public opinion research conducted by the NDI with funding from the Government of Canada. Results show that the most pressing need among Iraqi citizens in provinces formerly occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is finding job opportunities and improving their economic situation. This is seen as a precondition for satisfying other necessities which the government is failing to provide, mainly water and electricity.
- What Does MINUSMA’s Revised Mandate Mean for the Protection of Civilians in Mali? Part 2: A More Detailed Approach to Mitigating Civilian Harm
- In this blog Seán Smith elaborates on the refinements of PoC mandates in Mali to a every changing context. Also, Smith details how this refinement affords more prominence to reducing civilian harm within the tasks of MINUSMA.
- Storytelling website – “I saw my city die”: A special report from the International Committee of the Red Cross
- This webpage tells the story of civilians caught in the frontlines of urban conflict around the world, showing us how war has increasingly moved into urban areas, and how our urban environments make us vulnerable to civilian harm. There is also a report about this topic.
- Open Society Foundations – The Strategic Costs of Civilian Harm: Applying Lessons From Afghanistan to Current and Future Conflicts
- The report discusses civilian harm from ISAF action in Afghanistan from a military-strategic point of view: It details how preventable civilian harm and untransparent transporting on its occurrence led to a perceived loss of legitimacy of ISAF among the Afghan population. It moreover shows how tracking and public acknowledgment of civilian harm can improve a security actor’s reputation, as well as operational effectiveness.
- Civil Society Guidance for a Model Policy
- The U.S. military is engaged in a cooperative process with a range of non-governmental organisations to improve its civilian harm mitigation and transparency policy. The report presents the NGOs’ overarching recommendations for improvement.
- PAX PoC – Civilian harm tracking, analysis and response
- Paper that explains the concepts of civilian harm tracking, analysis and response, and which outlines PAX’ position with regard to implementation thereof in practice. It proposes a new and more comprehensive definition of ‘civilian harm’, and explains the benefits of tracking, analysis and response from military-strategic, political, and humanitarian points of view.
- Airwars & PAX – Seeing Through the Rubble: the civilian impact of the use of explosive weapons in the fight against ISIS
- This report demonstrates the dire and long lasting impact on civilians of the recent international coalition’s campaign in Mosul, Raqqa, and Hawijah and calls for stronger international commitment against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
- Airwars – Six years after the war against ISIS began, where now for Iraqis?
- News bulletin by Airwars, concerned with the current challenges Iraqis who lived in former IS areas face.
- Operationalizing Civilian Protection in Mali: The Case for a Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis, and Response Cell
- This practice note details an emerging best practice of civilian harm mitigation in armed conflict: namely, the creation of civilian casualty tracking, analysis, and response processes by a warring party or peace operation force. The article argues that in Iraq, Afghanistan and soon Somalia, these processes to better understand civilian harm and address consequences have positively shaped mission tactics, training, and overall operations.
- Interactive Website – War in Raqqa: Rhetoric vs. Reality
- This website compares the Coalition against ISIS’ civilian casualty figures and statements to its own research. It offers personal testimonies from victims of Coalition airstrikes, and it uses a range of different sources and images (satellite imagery, interactive maps) to map the scope of the violence that took place in Raqqa, Iraq.
2019 – Contributing to Human Security through training: a mission impossible?
Training of international security forces and governance actors is commonly seen as one of the more viable and safe options to contribute to goals as wide as Security Sector Reform (SSR), Protection of Civilians (PoC), Gender, counter terrorism, stabilization, anti-piracy and border security. The Netherlands contributes to many forms of training with a variety of means coordinated by a diversity of bodies. Building international capacities in complex and fragile settings is riddled with challenges such as competing political interests and coordination mechanisms, a limited capacity to plan for and adjust to local realities, a general lack of outcome tracking and ultimately the risk of harming human security despite the best intentions.
On December 3, 2019, the PoC department of PAX brought together international training experts and policy makers in the field of training with the explicit aim to discuss and suggest recommendations to the Dutch training efforts and to contribute to the impact on Human Security through Dutch contributions to international training.
[Photos: Jeppe Schilder]
On December 3, 2019, civil and military participants engaged in a mix of plenary and breakout sessions. A report of this conference is available now:
The program of the conference can be found in the following document:
Experts presented on a variety of PoC, Human Security & training related themes. Presentations approved for publication:
- Key note speech Major General (ret) Patrick Cammaert ‘Challenges of Training for Security’
- Reality check by LtCol MAsc Gwenda Nielen, Netherlands Ministry of Defence
- Reality check by LtCol Mark van Baal, Netherlands Ministry of Defence
- Reality check by Welmoet Wels, independent consultant and former POC Advisor UN missions
- Breakout Inclusiveness in training by LtCol Colin Magee, Deputy Military Advisor, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
- Breakout Curriculum Development for Human Security/PoC by Virpi Levomaa, Senior Advisor, Finnish Defence Forces International Centre, Finnish National Defence University
At the end of the program, the tool ”Mentimeter” was used to evaluate the program. The results can be found in the following document:
2018 – Applying Data for Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping relies on structural, actionable and timely information to be effective. The challenges lie in collecting and collating relevant information, applying information for effective actions and measuring performance. The conference brought together researchers and data specialists, peacekeeping staff and policy makers.
On November 14-15, 2018, the Protection of Civilians department of PAX organized the conference ”Applying Data for Peacekeeping” in the Hague. The aim was to link innovations in data collection and analysis with the need for structural information for peacekeepers to improve peacekeeping in practice. The conference aimed to contribute to solutions by addressing the various types of data (e.g. need assessments, remote sensing, open source, big data) and their application through tools (e.g. threat analysis, data management systems, surveys etc.) for peacekeeping operations.
[Photos: Jeppe Schilder]
Over two days, participants engaged in a mix of plenary and breakout sessions. The main discussion themes are captured in the two reports below:
The program of the conference can found in the following document:
Experts presented on a variety of Data for Peacekeeping and PoC related themes. Presentations approved for publication:
- How machine learning can assist UN Peacekeeping and early warning
- Open Source Data Airwars
- Humint in peacekeeping, PAX’s Human Security Survey
- Review of Peacekeeping Fatalities (Santos Cruz Report)
- SAGE – Data for Peacekeeping
- Lessons Learned from UNMISS SWEST
- Bellingcat: Open Source Data
- Peacekeeping Data and predictive peacekeeping – ETH Zürich
During the program, the tool ”Mentimeter” was used to gather information and to evaluate the program. The results can be found in the following document:
2017 – Protection of Civilians: Shared Goals, Different Visions?
On 4 and 5 October 2017 the Protection of Civilians Department of PAX organized the conference ‘’Protection of Civilians. Shared Goals, Different Visions?’’ in The Hague, Netherlands.
The conference brought together experts with experience in MINUSMA, MONUSCO and UNMISS, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, Forsvarets Forsknings Institutt (FFI), the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) and PAX to discuss current challenges in protection of civililians and to find pathways and opportunities to improving PoC in practice.
[Photos: Jeppe Schilder]
Over two days, participants engaged in a mix of plenary and breakout sessions. The main discussion themes are captured in the two reports below:
Experts presented on a variety of PoC related themes. Presentations approved for publication:
- Keynote Speech Welmoet Wels
- Stian Kjeksrud Threat Analysis and Assessment
- Wilbert van der Zeijden NATO PoC Policy
- Breakout Pitch Carrie Huisman Human Security Survey
- Breakout Pitch Hans Rouw Integrated Approaches to Training
- Breakout Pitch Lauren Spink Integrated Approaches to Training
- Breakout Pitch Stian Kjeksrud A Threat-Based Approach
- Breakout Pitch Wilbert van der Zeijden NATO PoC Policy
During the conference, the tool ”Mentimeter” was used to enhance interaction between presenters and the audience, and to gather information on participant backgrounds and interests. The results can be found in the following document: