Alan Ryan, Executive Director of the Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC), witnessed the signing of the ACMC-facilitated “Australian Guidelines for the Protection of Civilians” at the Australian Federal Police Headquarters building in Canberra on 23 December 2015.
The Guidelines, signed by the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC and the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Commissioner Andrew Colvin OAM APM (pictured with Dr Ryan), provide a whole-of-government perspective on Protection of Civilians (POC) in international situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence. The Guidelines are the product of extensive consultation, facilitated by the ACMC and include broad representation of Australian government and non-government organisations.
The Guidelines provide guidance on how to implement Australia’s POC focus areas: Protection through dialogue and engagement, Provision of physical protection, and Establishment of a protective environment. They reflect, build on and strengthen Australia’s contribution globally towards international peace and security.
ACMC was tasked under the Defence Implementation Plan for Women, Peace and Security (WPS) to produce guidelines for the POC for the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Federal Police. The Guidelines were developed and agreed through an Interagency Working Group and endorsed across government in December 2015. While centred on ADF and AFP operations, these Guidelines represent a whole-of-government position on POC and build a shared understanding of POC across government. This is crucial for providing effective protection for civilians and ensuring a common and consistent approach to government efforts.