April 13, 2021
Protection of civilians is mandated in most UN peace operations and has a prominent role in the work of security actors worldwide; but a mandate to protect is not enough. Those implementing civilian protection need granular data and improved situational awareness to help apply positive protection protocols proactively. In our newest report, PAX looks at how the UN, NATO, and African Union collect, analyze, and apply data for early warning and early action to improve the lives of the populations they are mandated to protect.
The report was written by independent consultant Allard Duursma.
"EU leaders adopt 5bn euros fund to train and equip security forces and militaries worldwide that risk fueling armed conflict"
Joint press release
March 22, 2021
On March 22, 2021, EU leaders adopted the European Peace Facility (EPF), a new fund that will allow the EU to train militaries around the world and equip them with lethal weapons. This is despite experts -including civil society -raising their concerns that the fund could worsen conflicts and contribute to human rights abuses in unstable regions.
This EU fund will replace several European foreign and defence policy funds such as the African Peace Facility which finances security assistance and other military operations in African countries including Somalia and the Sahel region.The EPF differs, however, fromits predecessors. Firstly, it is global in its mandate. Secondly –and crucially –it opens the door for the EU to fund ‘lethal equipment’ such as machine guns, pistols and ammunition. The EU is not allowed to spend its budget on weapons, so EU member states have circumvented the EU treaties prohibiting this by creating an off-budget fund. This marks a troubling change in EU foreign policy.
As European countries are starting to plan how to distribute these funds, civil society experts, analysts and MEPs in Europe and Africa react.
[Note that each organisation should only be attributed to their own quote]
January 19, 2021
The annual PAX PoC Conferences are organized by PAX’s PoC Team in partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On December 1-3, 2020, the PAX Protection of Civilians Conference brought together a network of PoC partners on three key themes: People and Protection, National Contributions to PoC, and the Reverberating Effects of Civilian Harm. In this document you can browse through visual notes depicting key themes of the sessions.
Recommendations brief for Member States ahead of the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial
January 15, 2021
In this briefing paper on Training for the Protection of Civilians in UN Peacekeeping Operations PAX puts forward recommendations for consideration by UN Member States ahead of the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial. The brief was informed by PAX’s (joint) events and conversations with PoC and training experts from the UN, Member States, peacekeeping training institutions, and civil society.
January 8, 2021
This literature review aims to provide an overview of publications that address the concept and practice of Community Engagement (CE) in conflict- and crisis-affected contexts. The objective of this review is to garner existing engagement concepts, guidelines and tools, their shortcomings, and current field-based recommendations for a practice- and people-centered approach in engaging with local communities during peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Considerations for Military Actors (Recommendations Brief)
December 17, 2020
One of the themes of the 2020 PAX PoC Conference was reverberating effects of use of force on civilians. During armed conflict, the negative effects of warfare often extend far beyond a weapon's direct, immediate impact. Nonetheless, there is still too little attention for longer-term, indirect, and sometimes non-physical impact of certain weapons and strategies in military training, operations and evaluations. This recommendations brief provides context to the topic, and contains a number of recommendations for military actors on how to prevent, minimise or mitigate harmful reverberating effects of their use of force on civilians. The recommendations are based on discussions during the various sessions of the conference.
November 12, 2020
In July 2020, 8 enumerators conducted 468 surveys in Jonglei, South Sudan. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several measures were taken to minimize the risk of infection during the enumerator training and data collection, such as the use of face masks, regular hand disinfection, no hand shaking, and maintaining 2 meters distance at all times.
Civilians were asked about the nature of security threats they face, and the impact this has on their daily lives and their expectations for the future. This infographic reflects the summarized outcomes of the survey. The research method used is called the Human Security Survey (HSS). The HSS is developed by PAX's Protection of Civilians team and includes a series of complementary activities, including population-based research, community engagement, and advocacy.
The civilian impact of the use of explosive weapons in the fight against ISIS
October 26, 2020
This joint report by the PAX Humanitarian Disarmament Team and the monitoring organization Airwars 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. The analysis goed beyond the weapons' direct impact, studying too their indirect and longer-term negative effects on civilians.
PAX briefing paper
October 5, 2020
This briefing paper was prepared by PAX in anticipation of a parliamentary debate on new transparency measures around reporting on civilian casualties from Dutch military action. The paper explains the shortcomings of the proposed measures and outlines its recommendations for improved practice. It is only available in Dutch.
Challenges and opportunities identified in contemporary literature
July 10, 2020
This paper follows up on the main findings of the literature study into civilian harm tracking tools and investigation mechanisms (published May 2020). It finds that the current state of tracking and investigation practices appears compromised by three interrelated challenges: A lack of universally adopted policies and standardized operational practices hampers effectiveness of civilian harm tracking; contemporary warfare’s increasing ‘remoteness’ presents new challenges that have yet to be addressed; a lack of transparency around the processing of civilian harm claims – characteristic of many militaries – further aggravates these shortcomings