A WORD from the Global Protection Cluster
In this edition of the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) Digest, we keep cluster participants, stakeholders and readers informed on some of the key developments with regard to operational support, advocacy and guidance available to field clusters. As in past editions, the digest provides a window for field protection clusters and practitioners to share their experience with respect to the challenges they face in current humanitarian emergencies and the approaches being used to deliver on our common objectives, especially with respect to the theme chosen for this digest: Protection and Humanitarian Access. I am very pleased we are able to share with you our exclusive interview with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs, Dr. Chaloka Beyani at the turn of the 20th anniversary of the mandate he now holds. You will find his perspective on humanitarian access extremely relevant to today’s challenges.
This theme is of clear and immediate significance to the GPC and the 25 field protection clusters given the nature of emergencies throughout 2012. The on-going efforts of the humanitarian community to secure and maintain humanitarian access in complex emergencies are faced with a multitude of constraining factors that impact the way we can deliver protection in such contexts. Whether it is due to insecurity affecting humanitarian staff, breakdown of law and order, the complexity of reaching Internally Displaced Persons outside-camps; frequent targeting of civilians or because of explicit obstacles posed by state and non-state actors, protection-mandated agencies are more and more constrained when trying to deliver protection and assistance to millions of internally displaced and other affected persons where and when it is needed. Such factors have called for innovative and proactive measures by the GPC and Field Protection Clusters in order to enable operational delivery of services in the field.
In fact, protection clusters in emergencies in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as in Somalia and Mali, have been doing just that. I take this opportunity to thank Judith, Bediako and Laurent who have engaged with protection cluster partners in their capacity as field protection cluster coordinators, to share insightful experience from some of these countries, and to the Areas of Responsibility (child protection, mine action, housing, land and property rights, gender- based violence) coordinators for their contributions. The submissions describe the realities of protection response efforts in the face of the changing nature of conflict and humanitarian working environment as we see it today.
These experiences reflect some of the proposed actions emanating from work carried out at the global level, notably through the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) since 2008.
For instance, recommendations have ranged from strengthening remote management mechanisms, establishment of peer review networks, a shift in the security risk management paradigm to inter-agency coordination, strategic humanitarian dialogue and mass information campaigns. In cases where integrated missions are present, clear criteria for engagement have been called for. The GPC will therefore elaborate a guidance note on interaction with peacekeeping operations and political missions; we will engage with the IASC Task Force on Humanitarian Space and Civil Military Relations on various aspects of their work and organize a roundtable on humanitarian access and remote protection management later this year in order to learn and share with you the most advanced and expert viewpoint on the subject.
The central role of the cluster system in international efforts to protect and assist the internally displaced was further emphasized by both the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council (HRC) this year, including in the most recent and landmark resolution of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/20/L.14) on the Human Rights of IDPs. We have therefore dedicated space for “Technical Briefings” on these developments, which we hope you will find informative and useful. This newsletter is yours: it should be a reflection of field concerns, and a forum for sharing experiences in delivering effective protection to the millions of girls, boys, women, and men affected by humanitarian crises around the world.