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Title: Protecting civilians in internal armed conflict : the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Author: Bradley, Miriam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1232
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the approaches taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the protection of civilians during internal armed conflict, both at the level of global policy and at the level of implementation in the Colombian context. The thesis explains how the ICRC and UNHCR approach protection, why each has adopted its particular approach, and how and why the effectiveness of each approach is limited. In doing so, it offers a theoretical framework for explaining the approaches taken by international organizations (IOs) to new tasks within their mandates as well as policy implications for the ICRC, UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies. From a theoretical perspective, this research shows that factors internal to the IO carry greater explanatory power than external factors. Most significantly, when an IO expands into a new issue-area, it frames the new task in terms of the existing tasks within its mandate, replicating the specific goals and the means of pursuing those goals. The extent to which the approach is then adapted to the specificities of the new issue-area depends on the ‘bureaucratic personality’ of the IO, and specifically the extent to which decisions are informed by field-level experience. Internal conflicts by definition include armed non-state actors, and the analysis in this thesis emphasises both their significance in determining civilian security and their neglect in existing approaches to protection. While the ICRC seeks to reduce the threat posed by all armed actors (state and non-state) in its work at the field level, it relies heavily on an international legal framework which prioritises states and this partially undermines its attention to non-state actors at the field level. UNHCR retains a state-centric focus at both the field level and the level of global policy. From a policy perspective, therefore, the thesis advocates greater attention to armed non-state actors both at the level of practice and in the development of protection norms.
Supervisor: Welsh, Jennifer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Conflict ; Emergencies and humanitarian assistance ; Human security ; Humanitarian emergencies ; Violence (refugees) ; Human rights ; War (politics) ; International studies ; Colombia ; civilian protection ; humanitarian policy ; internal displacement ; internal conflict