The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law

« Calling things by the wrong name adds to the affliction of the world. » Albert Camus.


Individuals have a legal status that is defined by national and international laws. This status is the basis on which their protection is ensured, in the context of society.

The protection of individuals stands at the crossroads between the defense of individual rights and the constraints relating to public safety. The national legal status of individuals is reinforced or substituted by various elements contained in international law that grant specific rights to individuals in times of disturbance or conflict.

It is important not to confuse the notion of protection with that of physical safety or security. The only entities that can assure the safety of individuals are those that control the use of public force at national or international levels ( ▸ Collectivesecurity ; Public order ). Law offers only legal protection: it limits the ways force or restraint may be used against individuals, and it sets forth the concrete means to uphold and defend these laws and rights. Humanitarian organizations cannot physically interpose themselves between individuals and a source of danger to ensure their safety. They can, however, negotiate access to victims and monitor the respect for the rules of protection established by international humanitarian law for the benefit of populations in danger. They must also adapt their assistance to fit the different needs and rights defined for the benefit of each category of international protected persons.

Mandates of “protection” issued by the United Nations Security Council to international armed forces under the doctrine of the “Responsibility to Protect” relate to physical safety and are presented under the entry ▸ Peacekeeping .

Collective securityHuman rightsIndividual recourseProtected personsPublic orderRespect for international humanitarian lawResponsibilitySafety

Protection means recognition that individuals have rights and that the authorities who exercise power over them have obligations. It means (i) defending the legal existence of individuals, alongside their physical existence, and (ii) attaching the juridical link of responsibility to the chain of assistance measures that guarantee the survival of individuals.

The notion of “protection” therefore reflects all the concrete measures that enable individuals at risk to enjoy the rights and assistance foreseen for them by international conventions.

In each case, relief actions are based on laws established for the benefit of protected persons. Relief organizations must both know and advocate these laws concretely. If these laws are not used, relief action risks weakening the framework of international legal protection set up for individuals in danger.

When providing relief in times of conflict, humanitarian organizations therefore must not separate the provision of assistance from protection. These organizations must respect the rights that are guaranteed for victims and for relief organizations by humanitarian law and must report grave violations encountered in the exercise of their work.

Protection in Times of Peace or of Internal Tensions

In times of peace, the nationality of an individual establishes his or her personal legal status. The status itself is defined by national laws. These, for the most part, center on the concept of a “social contract,” whereby society confers certain rights and obligations on its members, in exchange for which it ensures their safety and respect for public order. This means that the State has the responsibility for:

  • determining, through laws, the rights and obligations of individual members of the national community;
  • watching over the physical safety of individuals by defending the public order;
  • setting up the legal institutions to which victims can have recourse in case their rights are violated, as well as the appropriate legal procedures to punish breaches of the public order.

National laws that determine the legal status of individuals must be in conformity with the general principles and rights set forth in international human rights conventions. ▸ Human rightsNationality

In exceptional circumstances, however, such as situations of internal disturbances or tensions, States may restrict the exercise of certain individual rights, to ensure the defense of the country. In such cases, the authorities usually declare a state of emergency or a state of siege, if applicable. ▸ State of emergency/State of siege

Nevertheless, even under such conditions, there are certain rights that the State may not suspend or infringe on in any way known as “inalienable” rights. These are the fundamental guarantees that remain applicable at all times, for all individuals. These rights, which include judicial guarantees, are enumerated in international human rights conventions. They are inalienable rights and correspond to non-derogable obligations. ▸ Fundamental guarantees

The numerous conventions set forth various mechanisms to which individuals or States may have recourse in case individuals’ human rights or fundamental freedoms are violated.

National tribunals and some regional human rights courts have jurisdiction to control the legality of the behavior of the State in such situations. This judicial control aims at evaluating the restrictions imposed on human rights in the name of national security and the defense of public order in periods of internal disturbances or military occupation.

European Court for Human RightsHuman RightsProportionality

International Legal Status of Individuals

Although the legal status of individuals is defined mainly by national laws, there are various elements in international law that confer an international legal status on individuals. These elements come from both human rights conventions, applicable in times of peace or of tension, and the 1949 Geneva Conventions on humanitarian law, applicable in times of armed conflict.

The manifestations of this international legal status for individuals are as follows:

  • Mandatory and peremptory international human rights norms and, in particular, international standards regulating the treatment of individuals who are specifically protected by international law. These norms spell out a limited number of objective rights for individuals.
  • Recourse for individuals or States before international organs, judicial or not, in case of violations of the rules of international law relating to the treatment of individuals.

Fundamental guaranteesHuman rightsIndividual recourseInternal disturbances and tensionsJudicial guarantees;NationalityOccupied territoryProtected personsPublic order

Protection in Times of Conflict

In times of armed conflict, the protection provided by an individual’s own State may no longer be sufficient, either because individuals are exposed to an adverse party or because their own State authorities have adopted restrictive measures that affect them. These restrictions may concern individual human rights and the operation of the justice system, for instance.

Humanitarian law therefore sets forth the principal guarantees that States involved in a conflict must grant individuals (whether of their own nationality or that of the adverse party). It develops a protection mechanism based on two complementary aspects of its rules and regulations:

  • provisions that grant an international legal status to individuals in danger;
  • international regulations addressing relief actions.

Protection for Refugees

Refugees are individuals who no longer benefit from the protection of their State of origin. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees grants them international protection, through the intermediary of UNHCR. UNHCR is responsible for making sure that refugees, recognized as such, obtain individual, legal refugee status from another State. To this effect, it ensures that people who have fled their State due to fear of persecution and who can no longer benefit from the protection of their own State can make a request for asylum in another country.

While the refugees wait for their official asylum status, UNHCR has no means of ensuring their physical safety. However, it remains responsible for monitoring the fairness of procedures that grant refugee status, and for making sure that appropriate measures are taken to secure refugee camps, and that the refugees are not subjected to forced repatriation or expulsion (refoulement) toward a source of danger.

Finally, UNHCR is also responsible for coordinating the relief that will guarantee at least humane living conditions for the refugees while they wait to obtain their official status.


Regulations Concerning Relief Action

International humanitarian law authorizes and regulates concrete relief actions undertaken by the ICRC or other impartial humanitarian organizations for the benefit of protected persons. Nonetheless, the parties to the conflict remain responsible for the fate of the protected populations. Hence, they are not allowed to prevent relief actions. At the same time, they are not allowed to depend exclusively on outside initiatives to ensure the survival of the populations and individuals over whom they exercise control.

Relief actions take place in a broader framework of responsibility toward humanity. Humanitarian organizations must understand and fulfill their share of this responsibility. They must also remind the political and military authorities involved of their responsibilities.

Humanitarian priciplesReliefResponsibility

Protection of Medical Secrecy and Duties

No person carrying out medical activities can be compelled to give out any information concerning the wounded and sick who are, or have been, under his or her care, as long as the medical person considers that such information might prove harmful to the patients concerned or to their families. This applies whether the person requesting the information belongs to the adverse party to the conflict or to the medical person’s own party, except in cases foreseen by the person’s domestic laws. However, regulations concerning the compulsory notification of communicable diseases must be respected (API Art. 16.3). ▸ Medical ethicsMedical duties

The Ambiguous Meaning of Protection

The term protection can hide dangerous ambiguities. Traditionally, in law the term implies the existence of rights for individuals and proceedings to enforce them. For example, we speak of the protection of human rights to refer to the rights of individuals recognized by international conventions as well as those entailed in the domestic law of their own country. We also talk about “protection” in reference to the rights and specific proceedings provided for in domestic and international law, which takes into account the vulnerability of certain categories of persons such as minors, the sick, persons with disabilities, the detained, refugees, victims of sexual violence, or victims of armed conflicts. In this case, “protection” is synonymous to a specific legal status (national or international) granted to those different categories of vulnerable persons. In armed conflict, international humanitarian law establishes several categories of “protected persons” who must receive specific attention. The term “mandate of protection” carries the same meaning when used to designate the responsibility of the organization in charge of watching over the implementation of the international legal text that makes provisions for those specific statuses, for example, the High Commissioner for Refugees for the UN 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or the International Committee of the Red Cross for the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

The term protection must not be confused with the guarantee of a physical security for individuals who, even in time of peace, are imperfectly protected by the rule of law and the structures of public order set up by their own State.

More recently, the term protection has been introduced in the UN peacekeeping operations’ mandates to designate protected zones where vulnerable populations shall be protected by international soldiers. In this context, the use of the term is misleading, because it does not guarantee the physical protection of endangered populations. Instead, this is a mere legal clarification of peacekeepers’ mandate, which authorize them to use force in case of an imminent attack against civilians in the limit of their available means. This clarification aims at avoiding scandals that occurred in the past, when blue helmets notably failed to protect civilians in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. These mandates do not entail any obligation of means or results enabling international armed forces to ensure the security of the population.

Since 2001 and the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), the term protection is associated with the doctrine of the “Responsibility to Protect,” which was adopted by the UN in 2005 and invoked by the Security Council in March 2011 to justify the international intervention in Libya.

PeacekeepingProtected areas and zones

Protection and Assistance, Protection and Denunciation

Humanitarian law explicitly connects assistance to protection. It is not restricted to a quantitative approach of relief aiming at fighting food or medical shortages, but includes the right to evaluate the needs and to impartially control the distribution of relief by privileging the most vulnerable (API Arts. 70–71, APII Art. 18).

Indeed, the distribution of humanitarian aid (assistance) is intimately linked with the negotiation of access and the ability to address and mitigate the vulnerability of those in need (protection).

Humanitarian organizations should not artificially separate these two dimensions of action. They must take into consideration the vulnerability of certain categories of persons as well as specific guarantees provided by humanitarian law for these categories.

Negotiation is a central element of the protective dimension of relief work delivered by humanitarian organizations. While protection must not be assimilated to the denunciation of human rights or humanitarian law violations, it must not be separated from assistance.

If the history of humanitarian action has shown that silence and confidentiality were not obligatory conditions for the success of relief work, it has also shown that public denunciation of violence did not necessarily lead to the disappearing or the diminution of the phenomenon. This is why denunciation is not an automatic principle for relief organizations, contrary to most human rights organizations. Denunciation is a useful tool for negotiation, in order to stimulate responsibilities and set limits in situations of conflicts. It is also a solution of last resort in case of deliberate attacks on civilians and vulnerable persons.

The emergence of International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court has led people to think that international criminal justice could protect victims. In practice, international courts and tribunals do not have the means that enable them to ensure the security of witnesses and victims in the countries where they live, and they possess very limited means to relocate such persons in third countries under new identities. In the long run, the fight against impunity represents a component of the security and the protection of individuals, but in contexts where political instability or conflict reign, judicial action may put victims at risk.

The time of justice is not the same as the one of armed violence. If ever, judicial sanctions will always be pronounced after the crimes were committed. This is why in situations of violence, it is necessary to find humanitarian ways to immediately limit the exposure of the most vulnerable people and strengthen their capacity of survival.

The obligation not to harm remains a core principle for humanitarian workers and relief organizations. Those professional principles have been reiterated and clarified to take into account the recent evolution of humanitarian action, marked by international interventionism, both military and judicial.


ICRC Professional Standards for Protection Work

Considering the diversity of actors who pretend to act in the name of the protection of the population, the ICRC adopted in 2009 Professional Standards for Protection Work, which aim at avoiding practices that can further endanger vulnerable populations and improving the understanding of this activity of “protection” by international governmental and nongovernmental actors.

As a mandated organization for protection of victims of conflict, several tendencies encouraged the ICRC to develop the Professional Standards of Protection Work. Indeed, since the 1990s, the references to protection activities have increased among very different actors, ranging from human rights NGOs to the United Nations Security Council. Beyond the consensus about the importance of protection, there is a great diversity of meaning and content for each actor. This term is used to refer to public reports by NGOs, general advocacy activities, and report publications by NGOs on the fight against impunity or denunciation of violence and violation of rights in a given context. It also refers to the negotiation of the conditions of assistance by humanitarian organizations and safety actions regarding individuals at risk. Finally, it is equally used with respect to United Nations military operations with peacekeeping or peace-enforcement mandates, which include a protection component. More recently, it has emerged within the UN system as a legitimate reason to authorize the use of military force or to impose the competence of the International Criminal Court.

Such proximity between humanitarian and human rights actors as well as military and judiciary international activities has increased the risk of confusion about the ability of each one to define and abide by its own clear responsibility regarding “protection activities.” This illustrates the need for commonly agreed professional standards, in order to ensure a better response capacity, greater predictability, and more effective cooperation and coordination between protection actors. Taking into account lessons learned from major failures of these pretended protection activities and their huge related human fatalities, it was necessary to reaffirm the professional component of protection and to restate that good intentions are not enough and can even increase the danger to the people intended to be protected.

Several attempts were made to bridge the gap created by a widespread simplistic vision, limiting humanitarian actor’s responsibility to that of plain assistance provider as opposed to defenders of rights entrusted to human rights and advocacy organizations. One of them, the Sphere Project, launched in 1997 by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR), Inter Action with VOICE, and ICVA, published in 2004 a Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, containing rights and principles of action in addition to technical assistance. The International Federation of the Red Cross adopted a Code of Conduct in 1994, which put assistance activities in connection with basic protection principles. But these initiatives fell short of concrete professional impacts.

Professional standards emerged through workshops led by the ICRC between 1996 and 2000. In 2001, the document “Strengthening Protection in War: A Search for Professional Standards” established, among other things, a list of the different “modes of action” available to protection actors on the ground, namely, substitution, support, mobilization, persuasion, and denunciation. It also enshrined the “protection response egg,” a graphic representation of three different levels of action in front of any pattern of abuse, which are gradually halting its occurrence, working alongside the victims, and promoting lasting changes in the environment in order to diminish the likelihood of recurrence. Finally, it proposed a common definition of protection, which helped humanitarian organizations to implement a rights-based approach.

In 2009, the ICRC published the Professional Standards of Protection Work carried out by humanitarian and human rights actors in armed conflict and other situations of violence. The document was reedited in April 2013 with special consideration given to the notion of informed consent and the link between data management and new technologies. These Standards gather and develop overarching principles and fundamental rules that could establish the foundation for safe and effective protection work in general.

The standards recall the difficulties and danger of such activities and remind each actor of the imperative respect of the “do no harm principle.” The other following principles are stated as professional imperatives:

  • Humanity, which means placing the individual at the center of the protection efforts;
  • non-discrimination and impartiality, which requires a fair assessment of the situation and the population needs, taking into account factors of vulnerability as well as priority needs rather than being driven by the organization’s own mandate;
  • independence and neutrality, which are the warranty of the credibility of protection actors;
  • anticipation, which means that protection actors must think in advance of potential risks and take appropriate action to avoid harmful effects that could arise from their work as well as ensure that their activities do not have a discriminatory effect;
  • accountability, which means that protection actors are able to set objectives, define means, and assess the effective results. They must implement a systematic approach to (a) determine priorities in their area of competence, (b) set clear objectives in accordance with organizational capacities, (c) design a plan of action, (d) set monitoring and evaluation tools, and (e) use a participatory approach that includes those at risk in the decision-making process; and
  • respect for human rights.

These principles are followed by basic rules of professional behavior that organizations engaged in protection work must be able to fulfill:

  • Protection actors must know and respect the international and national legal frameworks;
  • ensure that they are not substituting for the role of the authorities;
  • communicate with the relevant authorities when possible;
  • ensure clarity and transparency of intent;
  • interface with non-humanitarian actors engaged in protection;
  • promote cooperation and complementarity by taking into account the roles and capacities of other protection actors;
  • provide information on protection and facilitate diffusion of information in emergency situations;
  • react to violations of human rights by telling the relevant actors;
  • manage sensitive protection information by only collecting information on abuses and violations when it is necessary for the design or implementation of protection activities and by ensuring informed consent and privacy of the person concerned; and
  • ensure professional capacity by providing regular trainings, minimize exposure to risks, and ensure ethical conduct by staff.

Professional Standards for Protection Work (Second Edition)

The Overarching Principles in Protection Work

  1. Protection actors must ensure that the principle of humanity is at the core of their protection work.
  2. Non-discrimination and impartiality must guide protection work.
  3. Protection actors must ensure that their activities do not have a discriminatory effect.
  4. Protection actors must avoid harmful effects that could arise from their work.
  5. Protection actors must contribute to the capacity of other actors to ensure that no harmful effects derive from their actions.
  6. Protection work must be carried out with due respect for the dignity of individuals.
  7. Protection actors must seek to engage in dialogue with persons at risk and ensure their participation in activities directly affecting them.
  8. Whenever appropriate and feasible, protection actors should contribute to and strengthen the possibility for affected populations to access information that can help them to avoid or mitigate the risks they are exposed to.
  9. Protection actors should consider building on the capacities of individuals and communities to strengthen their resilience.
  10. Protection actors working with affected populations, communities and individuals should inform them about their rights, and the obligations of duty bearers to respect them.

Managing Protection Strategies

  1. Protection actors must analyze protection needs in their area of competence, prior to engaging in protection activities. They must use this analysis to determine priorities and establish corresponding strategies to address these needs.
  2. Protection actors should translate their strategy into key specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound—SMART—objectives, identifying clear expected outcomes and impact, accompanied by a plan of action.
  3. Protection actors must monitor and evaluate their protection outcomes and impact, and adjust their strategy and activities accordingly.

Outlining the Protection Architecture

  1. Protection actors must determine and adjust their approach based on an understanding of the existing protection architecture and the role of primary duty bearers.
  2. Protection actors must at all times avoid action that undermines the capacity and will of primary duty bearers to fulfil their obligations.
  3. Protection actors must not substitute for the role of the authorities when the latter have the requisite capacity and will to assume their responsibilities.
  4. Protection actors should include some form of communication with the relevant authorities in their overall approach.
  5. Protection actors should ensure that whenever feasible a protection dialogue can be established with armed non-State actors.
  6. All protection actors must specify their roles, protection objectives, institutional priorities and means of action.
  7. Protection actors must ensure they develop a sound understanding of the role and responsibilities of UN peacekeeping operations and other internationally-mandated military and police forces in ensuring the protection of civilians where they are deployed.
  8. Protection actors should proactively engage UN peacekeeping operations with a view to promoting positive protection outcomes for populations at risk.
  9. When engaging with UN peacekeeping operations and other internationally-mandated military and police forces, protection actors must do so in a manner that does not pose further risks to civilians, nor undermine the ability of protection actors to operate, and be perceived as operating, in an impartial and independent manner.
  10. Protection actors should ensure some level of interaction with other internationally-mandated military and police forces in order to facilitate a protection dialogue aimed at securing respect for IHL, IRL (where applicable) and IHRL, as well as ensuring more informed protection efforts.
  11. Protection actors must take into account the various protection roles of political, judicial and economic actors.

Building on the Legal Bases of Protection

  1. Protection actors must be familiar with the various legal frameworks that are applicable.
  2. A protection actor must be consistent and impartial when making reference to, or urging respect for the letter or spirit of relevant law, as applied to various parties to an armed conflict.
  3. When protection actors take action to ensure that the authorities (including armed groups) respect their obligations towards the population, their reference to the law must be accurate. Messages and actions must be in accordance with the letter and spirit of the existing and applicable legal frameworks.
  4. When relevant regional and domestic law reinforce overall protection, and are in conformity with international law, protection actors should include them in their work.
  5. Protection actors must be aware that international law and standards cannot be lowered and must be respected and upheld. In certain cases pragmatism may require a series of progressive steps in order to attain these norms over time.

Promoting Complementarity

  1. Protection actors must take account of the roles, activities and capacities of others, avoiding unnecessary duplication and other potentially negative consequences, while endeavoring to build synergies.
  2. Protection actors must avoid compromising the efforts of those among them who choose to subscribe to the principles of independence and neutrality.
  3. Protection actors should seek to share their analyses in order to contribute to a better understanding of protection issues and their impact on various populations at risk.
  4. Protection actors must encourage the involvement of other protection actors with the requisite competencies and capacity where important, unmet protection needs are suspected.
  5. Protection actors should map critical services that exist in their area of operations, making this information available when relevant and necessary, and proactively facilitating access to such services in emergency situations.
  6. When a protection actor learns of serious abuse or violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, and it lacks the capacity or the requisite mandate to take action, it should alert other organizations which may have this capacity or mandate.

Managing Sensitive Protection Information

  1. Protection actors must only collect information on abuses and violations when necessary for the design or implementation of protection activities. It may not be used for other purposes without additional consent.
  2. Systematic information collection, particularly from individuals affected by abuses and violations, must only be carried out by organizations with the capacity and skills, information management systems and necessary protocols in place.
  3. Protection actors must collect and handle information containing personal details in accordance with the rules and principles of international law and other relevant regional or national laws on individual data protection.
  4. Protection actors seeking information bear the responsibility to assess threats to the persons providing information, and to take necessary measures to avoid negative consequences for those from whom they are seeking information.
  5. Protection actors setting up systematic information collection through the Internet or other media must analyse the different potential risks linked to the collection, sharing or public display of the information and adapt the way they collect, manage and publicly release the information accordingly.
  6. Protection actors must determine the scope, level of precision and depth of detail of the information collection process, in relation to the intended use of the information collected.
  7. Protection actors should systematically review the information collected in order to confirm that it is reliable, accurate and updated.
  8. Protection actors should be explicit about the level of reliability and accuracy of information they use or share.
  9. Protection actors must gather and subsequently process protection information in an objective and impartial manner, to avoid discrimination. They must identify and minimize bias that may affect information collection.
  10. Security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information must be in place prior to any collection of information, to ensure protection from loss or theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification, in any format in which it is kept.
  11. Protection actors must undertake an analysis of the associated risks for the interviewees and the interviewer before conducting interviews.
  12. When conducting individual or group interviews, protection actors must only collect personal information with the informed consent of the person concerned, who is made aware of the purpose of the collection. Unless specific consent to do so has been obtained, personal information must not be disclosed or transferred for purposes other than those for which they were originally collected, and for which the consent was given.
  13. Protection actors must integrate the notion of informed consent when calling upon the general public, or members of a community, to spontaneously send them information through SMS, an open Internet platform, or any other means of communication, or when using information already available on the Internet
  14. Protection actors should, to the degree possible, keep victims or communities having transmitted information on abuses and violations informed of the action they have taken on their behalf—and of the ensuing results. Protection actors using information provided by individuals should remain alert to any negative repercussions on the individuals or communities concerned, owing to the actions they have taken, and take measures to mitigate these repercussions.
  15. Protection actors must avoid, to the extent possible, duplication of information collection efforts, in order to avoid unnecessary burdens and risks for victims, witnesses and communities.
  16. Whenever information is to be shared, its interoperability should be taken into account in planning the information collection.
  17. When handling confidential and sensitive information on abuses and violations, protection actors should endeavour, when appropriate and feasible, to share aggregated data on the trends they observed.
  18. Protection actors should establish formal procedures on the information handling process, from collection to exchange and archiving or destruction.

Ensuring Professional Capacity

  1. Protection actors must identify and address gaps in their professional capacity to carry out protection activities.
  2. Protection actors should make every effort to secure sufficient resources to support their protection activities at the level and for the duration of their commitment.
  3. Protection actors must ensure that their staff are adequately trained to deliver protection activities that are of high professional quality.
  4. Protection actors must keep themselves informed, and adopt as appropriate current practices and guidelines of relevance to their protection activities.
  5. Protection actors must take measures to minimize the risks to which their staff are exposed.
  6. Protection actors must adopt an institutional code of conduct and ensure compliance.

ChildrenCiviliansCollective securityDetentionInternally displaced personsDuty of commandersHuman rightsHumanitarian and relief personnelIndividual recourseInternational humanitarian lawMilitary objectivesOccupied territoryPrisoners of warProtected objects and propertyProtected personsProtecting powersRefugeesSafetyStateless personsWomenWounded and sick persons

For Additional Information: Blondel, Jean-Luc. “Assistance to Protected Persons.” International Review of the Red Cross 260 (September–October 1987): 541–68.

Bouvier, Antoine, Marco Sassòli, and Anne Quintin, eds. How Does Law Protect in War? Cases, Documents and Teaching Materials on Contemporary Practice in International Humanitarian Law . 3rd ed. Geneva: ICRC, 2012.

Giossi Caverzasio, Sylvie. Strengthening Protection in War: A Search for Professional Standards . Geneva: ICRC, 2001.

ICISS. The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty . 2001. Available at .

ICRC. Professional Standards for Protection Work Carried Out by Humanitarian and Human Rights Actors in Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence . April 2013. Available at .

Sassoli, M., and A. Bouvier. How Does Law Protect in War? Geneva: ICRC, 1999.

Slim, H., and A. Bonwick. Protection: An ALNAP Guide for Humanitarian Agencies . London: ODI, 2005.

UN. “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect.” Report of the UN Secretary-General, UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/63/677. Available at .

———. “Security Council Resolution 1674.” April 2006. Available at .

———. “World Summit Outcome Document.” 2005. Available at