Global Protection Cluster

Human Rights Engagement
The Issue

“Human rights protection is not a specific tool or approach, but rather refers to a desired outcome – where rights are acknowledged, respected and fulfilled by those under a duty to do so, and as a result of which dignity and freedom is enhanced. Human rights protection results when, through specific actions, individuals who otherwise would be at risk or subject to deprivation of their rights, are able to fully exercise them. It is based on international law, and necessarily focuses on both immediate responses where people are threatened, and on longer-term work to build and strengthen laws and institutions that protect rights.”

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Human rights is at the core of humanitarian action. 
Humanitarian crises, both conflicts and weather-related disasters, almost invariably result in human rights concerns. Humanitarian crises may be triggered by human rights concerns, or once they occur, may exacerbate the adverse impact on the affected population.  
Integrating human rights considerations into the multilateral humanitarian system’s planning, preparedness, response and recovery efforts is necessary to address the related challenges. Swift and decisive efforts to protect human rights are imperative during conflict in order to stop or reduce the likelihood of future violations stemming from the conflict. In the recovery from a conflict, it is important that strengthening human rights protection becomes the objective of action: arrangements such as peace agreements that are built on respect for human rights and accountability provide guarantees and safeguards for the affected population and are more likely to achieve peace and development. In the case of natural disasters, a failure (by governments and others) to take reasonable preventive action, as well as to provide effective mitigation, is a human rights issue. Integrating human rights in the response will for example prevent discrimination in the distribution of aid, identify and address the situation of those most marginalised and vulnerable to abuse and propose appropriate measures. Integrating human rights at the core of humanitarian action strengthens the protection response and ensures that efforts are holistic and focused on the ‘affected population’ as a whole, rather than only certain segments of it. 

The Approach 

Protection clusters are already collecting a large amount of information related to issues affecting IDPs, but these protection issues may not be analysed using the human rights framework and tools where relevant. The lack of complementarity with and connections to the human rights framework, tools and mechanisms, may constrain protection clusters’ ability to leverage them for the benefit of IDPs and lead to duplication of reporting templates, tools and analysis. The protection clusters can achieve further predictability and encourage positive developments in the protection of internally displaced persons by strengthening its monitoring framework and protection monitoring systems in line with the human rights framework.  

The Global Protection Cluster is ensuring more systematic integration of the human rights mechanisms in the protection analysis and planning activities of field clusters and in support to the HCT protection strategies. The GPC and field protection clusters also work towards closing this gap by raising awareness and equipping protection officers, protection cluster members and Humanitarian Country Team members with the tools and information needed to make better use of the human rights system for the benefit of IDPs. 

The Task Team on Human Rights Engagement   

In 2020, the GPC established the HRETT to support protection clusters to fulfil their core functions and build capacity of protection actors to ensure the respect of the human rights of affected persons. Since its establishment, the HRETT has fostered a stronger use of human rights tools and engagement and has promoted complementarity and connections between humanitarian and human rights actors. With the support of the HRETT, protection clusters can engage more effectively on human rights issues, including incorporation of human rights-based protection monitoring and analysis, ensure that voices of affected persons and communities are heard, and achieve stronger protection outcomes.

The HRETT is composed of approximately 60 humanitarian and human rights actors interested in furthering a human rights-based approach in all protection activities and programs and it is open to any human rights or humanitarian organization, agency or protection cluster that would like to participate. All the HRETT’s events and regular meetings are open to protection clusters, providing them an opportunity to raise challenges and opportunities and receive advice from the members.


Human Rights in the Cluster Contexts

    Video Message by GPC Coordinator Samuel Cheung on Human Rights Day 2022             Video Message by the Protection Cluster Officers in Iraq, Nigeria, and Mozambique on Human Rights Day 2022             Video Message by UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier de Schutter    
    Video message by the IE on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz             William Chemaly GPC Human Rights Engagement TT HNPW Event 2021                  

Human Rights Engagement Task Team

Kelleen Corrigan

Human Rights Engagement Lead