The Council of the EU has adopted decisions on protection in humanitarian settings as a call to help reduce the lack of protection for vulnerable people.

The Council approved today conclusions on protection in humanitarian settings as a call to help reduce the lack of protection of affected people and constraints faced by protection actors, including but not limited to breaches of International Humanitarian Law and lack of access.

The Council notes its deep concern that funding for protection does not match the needs of populations affected by humanitarian crises.

The Council recalls in its conclusions that the aim of EU humanitarian aid is to provide a needs-based emergency response aimed at preserving life, preventing and alleviating human suffering and maintaining human dignity wherever the need arises if governments and local actors are overwhelmed, unable or unwilling to act.

It is the primary role and responsibility of States to protect and ensure the safety and security of individuals. In this context, the Council highlights the importance of protection mainstreaming and targeted actions including but not limited to mine action, prevention of and response to gender-based violence, child protection, protection for persons with disabilities and/or legal assistance.

The Council recognises that conflicts and natural disasters affect people unequally, placing them in different situations of vulnerability, with women and girls disproportionately impacted by persistent gender inequalities, the ultimate expression of which is sexual and gender-based violence.

All activities must be inclusive, taking into account the multiple vulnerabilities and combination of factors that can affect the dignity, rights, safety and security of individuals, including refugees, forcibly displaced persons, stateless persons, children, persons with disabilities and persons at risk of being marginalised, such as LGBTI persons or specific ethnic or religious groups.

The Council calls for development and peace actors to seize opportunities to identify and collaborate with humanitarian actors to tackle the root causes of protection risks and needs

Action points and collective commitments

The Council suggests in its conclusions some action points and collective commitments:

  • invites the EU and its member states to increase funding specifically dedicated to protection interventions to respond, mitigate and reduce risks based on context specific protection analysis
  • encourages the EU and its member states to invest in and support, whenever relevant, responsive activities aiming at preventing and/or interrupting the cycle of violence
  • recognises that investments are needed to develop and increase humanitarian actors’ protection capacity, including national and international humanitarian workers and organisations and affected communities, in particular when it comes to preventing and interrupting the cycle of violence
  • invites the EU and its member states to support proactive advocacy for the reduction of protection risks and threats by engaging directly in public and behind the scenes
  • encourages humanitarian actors to better align with communities’ own identification of protection risks and ways to address them as the basis of protection programming

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