Working With State Authorities and Armed Groups on Protection | Politics | Public Sphere

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As humanitarians we can never take over the role of the state, but we do have a complementary part to play, remaining accountable to the people we seek to support. That can involve coordinating, supporting, capacity building and advocating with the relevant authorities to uphold their protection responsibilities towards people at risk. This booklet brings together guidance and lessons learned from efforts by humanitarian organisations in a range of contexts to play that complementary role, engaging with the state and armed groups on one level as well as with the people themselves on another.
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      W    O    R    K    I    N    G    W    I    T    H    S    T    A    T    E    A    U    T    H    O    R    I    T    I    E    S    A    N    D    A    R    M    E    D    G    R    O    U    P    S    O    N    P    R    O    T    E    C    T    I    O    N  “ Looters came at night to steal goats, money and valuables. They attack with machetes or knives. Some villages have been abandoned. No one is left in Namuziba … We go to farm in the fields along the main road but we are afraid. I can’t cross the road after 4pm. We fear rape and worry that other villages will soon be destroyed. I mainly grow sugar cane but it is sometimes cut and taken. I also planted onions but they have been destroyed.” SARAH (not her real name)Eastern DRC INTRODUCTION Sarah with her child: Eleanor Farmer/Oxfam  Protection is fundamentally about people like Sarah being safe from the harm that others might do her, whilst ensuring her dignity, well-being and access to rights. When conflict or disaster strikes, people can become more vulnerable to violence, coercion and abuse from others. They can also suffer trauma, fear and humiliation. Services can be denied to them as they encounter discrimination, rights violations and neglect. They will generally do what they can to stay safe and cope, and the state is responsible for protecting them. In an armed conflict, an organised armed group will have similar obligations.As humanitarians we can never take over the role of the state, but we do have a complementary part to play, remaining accountable to the people we seek to support. That can involve coordinating, supporting, capacity building and advocating with the relevant authorities to uphold their protection responsibilities towards people at risk. This booklet brings together guidance and lessons learned from efforts by humanitarian organisations in a range of contexts to play that complementary role, engaging with the state and armed groups on one level as well as with the people themselves on another.  GENERAL GUIDANCE No two contexts are the same; what is feasible and desirable as a means of working with the authorities to help keep people protected in one situation may not work in another. Nonetheless, some general learning can be drawn from past experience in a range of countries and situations. Counter-trafficking event in Maguindanao, Philippines: © IOM Cotabato/Allyson Banga-an
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