PoC events

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:

The invitation for this conference is available here:

+ Day 1 - National Contributions to PoC

General resources: 

  • 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.

Content-specific resources:

  • 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.
  • 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.

+ Day 2 - People & Protection

General resources:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Content-specific resources:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

+ Day 3 - The reverberating effects of Civilian Harm

General resources:

  • 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.

Content-specific resources:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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[Photos: Jeppe Schilder]


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.

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[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:

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.

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[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:

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:

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