Past Event

Understanding Civilian Protection: Concepts and Practices

This seminar was the first in a series of three seminars on the protection of civilians. The second seminar’s (October 28, 2010) event page can be viewed by clicking here
and the third seminar is scheduled to take place on January 13, 2011.


Some 45 participants from the United Nations, international humanitarian and development organizations, non-governmental human rights and humanitarian organizations, different agencies of the U.S. government and the U.S. military, academic institutions and the diplomatic community came together at the Brookings Institution on September 14 to discuss current challenges in protecting civilians. This was the first of three seminars in the series.

Meeting under the Chatham House rule, participants explored the question of what protection of civilians—both conceptually and on the ground—means; the role of different actors in protecting civilians; and the dilemmas faced in operationalizing protection in situations of armed conflict. Discussion was rich and diverse and no attempt was made to reach consensus on any of these points during the inaugural seminar. The seminar report pulls out certain themes that emerged in the discussion in the hope that subsequent discussions can take the debate further.

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Agenda

Understanding Civilian Protection: Concepts and Practices

While the concept of civilian protection has become popular in international discourse, it is used in very different ways by different actors, from UN peacekeepers to humanitarian agencies to military forces. On September 14, a diverse group of participants met at Brookings to explore the question of what protection of civilians means, both conceptually and on the ground; the role of different actors in protecting civilians; and the dilemmas faced in operationalizing protection in situations of armed conflict.

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