Protection & Security

Military and police intervention – including international peacekeeping efforts and “coalitions of the willing” – are often critical to stabilizing a crisis, protecting displaced people, and securing humanitarian efforts. Mutual understanding and coordination between military and civilian protection actors is also needed to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law, and to prioritize civilian protection and security during periods of armed conflict.


Refugees International's protection & security work develops and improves the capacity of the international community to effectively protect civilians in armed conflict. RI works to improve international peacekeeping doctrine and training, to increase U.S. military participation in peacekeeping, and to improve civil-military understanding and cooperation with UN, AU, and NATO-led military operations.

This compliments and supports RI’s core humanitarian advocacy efforts by pursuing analysis and advocacy aimed at:

  • Preventing instances of civilian displacement as a result of violence and insecurity; 
  • Creating secure conditions for internally-displaced persons, refugees, and host communities through the direct provision or facilitation of physical security, or the creation of safe spaces for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and;
  • Creating conditions conducive to the return of internally-displaced persons and refugees.


Displaced people around the world often depend on peacekeepers and other UN-mandated military forces to protect them from violence, enhance stability, and enforce fragile peace accords.

The protection of civilians in armed conflict is a multifaceted effort, demanding the attention of humanitarian, human rights, development, and political actors. It may also require the use of force by military and police in order to prevent attacks and guarantee access for humanitarian actors and human rights defenders. But the use of force in protection activities is a new concept, for which strategies and tactics are still evolving. Protection of civilians can also be resource-intensive and technically difficult. RI works to strengthen doctrine and training for military actors involved in protection, reinforce coordination between military and civilian agencies, and increase the funding and material support available to protection actors. 

With the Better World Campaign and GlobalSolutions.org, RI also co-leads the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping, a non-partisan working group focused on strengthening international peacekeeping.