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Three NP protectors and civilians on road

"I want to change the situation that women are in. I want to be a voice of women and peace," reflected Maypal, a woman who leads unarmed civilian protection activities in Lankien, South Sudan. She is a member of a Women's Protection Team and sees the direct impact of her work. Following successful advocacy to the governer regarding displacement of flooding victims, Maypal proudly noted, "My voice was heard."

Unarmed Civilian Protection is an approach to the protection of civilians in violent conflict that utilises nonviolent strategies to protect civilians and interrupt cycles of violence. Practices of Unarmed Civilian Protection are implemented by unarmed civilians, who protect their fellow civilians. It is a suite of practices that have global applicability but are responsive to local context, with effective examples of Unarmed Civilian Protection utilised in diverse contexts. Across the world, civilians are implementing Unarmed Civilian Protection with great effect.

Case Studies

2022

2021

2020

2016 - 2019

 

2011 - 2015

UCP Shifting the narrative

A new story of security

The world needs to be able to tell a different story if it is to survive – a story of interdependence, purpose, and sufficiency, a person- and planet-oriented civilisation. We believe it is time for a similar shift in the field of security; a field that relies so heavily on walls and technology, designed to isolate, or eliminate threats, and allow the privileged few to enjoy their safety in separation from a dehumanised other. 

We believe that UCP can contribute to such a shift. UCP presents a new story of security, a story in which security can be experienced through greater connectivity.
Woman from Sahel, smiling

Mariam,
the Sahel

“This course allowed me to demystify the protection of civilians because I thought it was the prerogative of armed actors only.  Understanding that this protection must be done by civilians reinforces my desire to contribute to it."

Woman from Mindanao speaking into microphone with mask

Richelle,
Mindanao, Philippines

"As a peacebuilder, I believe that my voice can be a tool in helping my co-youth and community towards peace and development ... I’m now confident in my capacity to lead and act in my community."

Sunset by tents and electrical poles alongside a dirt road.

A young man,
IDP Camp, Iraq

“We learned that we can prevent problems if we control our feeling when we feel angry and this will reduce or prevent violence as well as controlling ourselves helps us maintain the relationship among each other.”

Person with her hair pulled into a low bun greets a colleague by bumping elbows. She wears a mask, gloves, an NP vest, and a microphone.

Aurora,
Minnesota, U.S.

“The work that Nonviolent Peaceforce is doing is not only needed and helpful, but volunteering with NP also gives me a place where I am able to create community, which is incredibly important.”

We’ve known for a long time that Unarmed Civilian Protection works because of the testimonies of communities and field teams around the world. In addition, the published evidence for Unarmed Civilian Protection as a viable and effective approach is strong, and growing stronger. The below provide an overview of research on Unarmed Civilian Protection practices across a range of contexts.

Research and Evaluations

Research and Reports by NP

  • Civilian Protection Needs & Responses in Ukraine | Ukraine | 2022
    Key conclusions from the assessment conducted by NP and makes recommendations on emergency and future protection programming in Ukraine. 
    Preliminary Findings (May 2022)
    Kharkiv Snapshot (June 2022)

  • Gaps in Formal Education in Iraq | Iraq | December 2021
    A research study conducted by the Education Consortium of Iraq (ECI) – comprised of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and NP– has identified areas to improve in education infrastructure, personnel, and reintegration of students into the formal system across six governorates.
    Link to the Report

  • Building Peace Changing Lives: Role and Participation of Women in Peace and Security in Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand | Philippines | March 23, 2021
    This study, conducted by NP Philippines in collaboration with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatices (CFLI). This study presents lessons learned and conclusions to highlight the significant gains of women peacebuilding and emphasize the need for concrete actions to implement and institutionalize WPS agenda in the three countries in particular and in ASEAN in general. 
    Link to the Report

  • Women Contributing to Peace | Myanmar | March 6, 2019
    The study, conducted NP in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), collected data from August 2018 to January 2019. The map, intended as a quick guide, lists 674 women from 383 organizations who contribute to peace building.
    Link: Electronic copies of the maps, along with additional information about women contributing to peace in Myanmar
    Link: Press release from U.S. Embassy in Burma

  • In Support of Ceasefire Monitoring. A Guide for Liaison Officers (Burmese) | Myanmar | September 2016 
    This handbook is designed and led by NPand includes the lessons learned from the courses provided between June 2015 and April 2016. During this time, Nonviolent Peaceforce conducted nine total trainings in collaboration with the Karen National Union (KNU); Shan State Rehabilitation Council (RCSS); and Pa-O National Liaison Officer, Liberation Organization (PNLO) Liaison Office.
    Link to the handbook

Research and Reports on NP and UCP

Reviews and Evaluations of NP and UCP

Sampling of Related Works

  • Felicity Gray (2022) Protection as connection: feminist relational theory and protecting civilians from violence in South Sudan, Journal of Global Ethics, 18:1, 152-170.
  • Margaux Pinaud (2021) ‘Home-Grown Peace: Civil Society Roles in Ceasefire Monitoring’, International Peacekeeping 28(3): 470-495. 
  • Congo Research Group (2020), Building Relationships, Building Peace: The Role of Civilians and Civil Society in Preventing Mass Atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Washington D.C.: United State Holocaust Memorial Museum. 
  • Peris Jones and Wangui Kimari (2019) ‘Security beyond the men: Women and their everyday security apparatus in Mathare, Nairobi’, Urban Studies 56(9): 1835-1849. 
  • Joseph Bock et al. (2019) Halting Hate: How to Use the Interruption Model to Counter Hate-Motivated Violence, American Arbitration Association.  
  • Jana Krause (2018) Resilient Communities: Non-Violence and Civilian Agency in Communal War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • Nerve Macaspac (2019) ‘Insurgent Peace: Community-Led Peacebuilding of Indigenous Peoples in Sagada, Philippines’, Geopolitics 24(4): 839-877. 
  • Oliver Kaplan (2017) Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • Veronique Dudouet (2017) Powering to Peace: Integrated Civil Resistance and Peacebuilding Strategies, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, vol. 1.  
  • Landon Hancock (2016) ‘Agency and peacebuilding: The promise of local zones of peace’, Peacebuilding, 5(3), 255–269. 
  • Jeffrey A. Butts (et al.) (2015) ‘Cure violence: A public health model to reduce gun violence’, Annual Review of Public Health (36): 39–53. 
  • Georgi Engelbrecht and Vidushi Kaushik (2015) ‘Community-based protection mechanisms’, Peace Review 27(1), 43–51. 
  • Sara Koopman (2014) ‘Making space for peace: International protective accompaniment in Colombia’, in F. McConnell, N. Megoran, & P. Williams (eds.), Geographies of peace: New approaches to boundaries, diplomacy and conflict resolution, London/New York: IB Tauris. 109–130. 

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More than 700 people across 10+ countries have traine 26,000 individuals in unarmed civilian protection. Join us today to build a culture of global peace in more communities and across multiple generations — as a donor, a volunteer, a team member, or an independent researcher. Sign-up now to receive updates on events, NP’s work on the ground, career opportunities, and more.
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