ACT Protection policy

27th July 2015
Many members of the ACT Alliance offer assistance to people in natural and man-made crisis situations. Striving to reach people in need across front lines and national borders, they provide assistance without discrimination.

Since the 1990s, however, there has been an unprecedented increase in the protection needs of those we seek to assist. In particular, deliberate or indiscriminate attacks during armed conflicts that kill, injure and forcibly displace civilians; the increase in the use of rape as a strategy of war, the recruitment and abduction of boys and girls as child soldiers and sexual slaves, and persistent sexual exploitation and abuse and other gender-based violence such as rape, female genital mutilation, forced child and teenage marriages and domestic violence.

Core Principles for ACT Alliance Humanitarian Protection Work


Principle 1: Prioritise the safety, dignity and empowerment of all women, girls, boys and men at all times without discrimination.

Principle 2: Make a core commitment to mainstream gender and protection into all humanitarian assistance programmes.

Principle 3: Adopt a community-based approach to protection work that enables the active participation of communities in determining appropriate risk reduction measures.

Principle 4: Ensure that all humanitarian needs assessments address risk, taking into consideration threats, vulnerabilities and capacities of individuals and communities.

Principle 5: Ensure mechanisms are in place to prevent and respond to the occurrence of sexual abuse and exploitation and gender-based violence.

Principle 6: Ensure that organisations having 'specialised' protection programmes observe professional standards and have the capacity and expertise to meet the standards required.

Principle 7: Ensure all personal and protection-sensitive information is managed responsibly.

Principle 8: Protection advocacy must be based on a careful risk-benefit analysis involving field staff and affected communities and be part of an integrated protection strategy.

Principle 9: Recognise that the State has the primary responsibility for protection and ensure that the ultimate aim of protective humanitarian action is to reinforce, not replace, the State’s responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.

Principle 10: In situations of international and non-international armed conflicts, recognise and promote the obligations of States and armed non-state groups under international humanitarian law, including to respect and protect civilians, as well as to facilitate the work of humanitarian organisations working in areas affected by armed conflict.

Principle 11: Seek to work in a complementary and collaborative manner with other humanitarian actors in order to strengthen the impact of collective protective action and avoid unnecessary duplication.

The ACT Alliance Protection Policy is available in English, French and Spanish.

ACT Policy_Protection_ English

ACT Policy_Protection_French

ACT Policy Protection_Spanish

(ACT Policies and guidelines)