Protection of Civilians: A NATO Perspective
Hill, S. and Manea, A., Protection of Civilians: A NATO Perspective. Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, 34(2), pp.146–160, 2018
15 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2019
Date Written: 2018
On the occasion of the 2016 Warsaw Summit, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Nations endorsed the NATO Policy on the Protection of Civilians, which was developed with NATO Partners and in consultation with the United Nations and other international organisations. This Policy is further bolstered by Allies’ pledge to implement a concrete Action Plan, which will be reviewed regularly by the Council. The added value of the Policy does not lie in the novelty of any particular aspect of its content as such, rather, in its overarching and comprehensive character. Its guiding principles include that all NATO and NATO-led operations, missions and activities are conducted in accordance with applicable international law, which may include international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL). The Policy is not limited to either the law of armed conflict or times of peace alone: this promises to facilitate its application to peace-time activities as well, and leaves sufficient room for a context-sensitive approach. More so, it recognises that long-term, self-sustained peace, security and stability is best achieved in cooperation with, among other actors, civil society, such as relevant human rights organisations. This article seeks to describe this landmark achievement from a number of perspectives, focusing primarily on legal aspects relating to the Policy. It will review its scope and extent in terms of operational aspects, possible measures, beneficiaries and context and, finally, several aspects pertaining to its human rights dimension that will continue to be integrated in NATO’s current and future operations, missions and activities, including the on-going Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
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