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AFGHANISTAN: Protection Cluster Response Plan 2017


Afghanistan Protection Cluster has conducted a series of protection risk analysis workshops in September-October 2016, both at national and sub-national level, bringing together protection practitioners to reflect their knowledge on the vulnerabilities of the affected populations, protection risks they face, their prevalence, impact and likelihood at different stages of the emergency. This has allowed to categorise major risks into groups and better structure the response planning. Further, secondary data analysis of the assessments conducted in 2016 and before has been carried out to define population groups in most need and estimated projections based on planning numbers for 2017, broken down by age, sex and location.

In the meantime, analysis of the protection needs faces number of constrains related to the data collection limitations, i.e. cultural sensitivities, access, lack of data sharing arrangements among partners and lack of sufficient funding to carry out assessments with wider coverage. Insufficient number of female enumerators and female staff in general significantly limits access to women and children, constituting the majority of the population. To mitigate this, protection partners have been using context specific tools, trying to bring together qualitative and quantitative methods in assessing needs of the affected people. However, often geographically fragmented coverage allows little for comparison. Applying secondary data analysis methodologies, the Cluster has consolidated the available data, identifying the information gaps and limitations. Major proxy indicator for the prioritization of areas for response is the concentration of the people on the move, informed by the joint assessment teams visits and protection monitoring coverage that trigger further detailed protection specific needs assessment and subsequent analysis.


The multi-faceted protection crisis continues to negatively impact upon the civilian population. Intensifying conflict throughout 2016 has resulted in increased civilian casualties and unprecedented levels of displacement. Newly displaced frequently settle in areas already hosting large numbers of prolonged displaced. Absorption capacity is limited and essential protective services (health, education, etc.) are overstretched. This situation has been further aggravated by the swell in the number of returnees (both documented and undocumented), the majority of whom have had little time to prepare for return and are settling in the same areas. Vulnerabilities are aggravated and resilience impacted, especially for groups with specific protection needs such as women, children, older people and persons with disabilities. Limited accountability, insufficient humanitarian access, and uneven coverage of national protection frameworks and institutions – especially outside of urban centres – further affects the protection environment, while chronic poverty and underdevelopment renders large segments of the population susceptible to shocks. The protection impact of the existing crisis is often aggravated due to limited options for positive coping strategies, low awareness of basic rights, and existing discriminatory socio-cultural practices.


Protection related needs in Afghanistan are prevalent across the entire life-cycle of response, with some individuals and families exhibiting specific needs during emergency and post-emergency phases. HEAT data from May to October 2016 shows that half of the surveyed conflict-induced displaced population is female, many pregnant or lactating (respectively 8% and 37% of surveyed households), and 62% are children – it is recognized that these large groups face particular and evolving concerns. High levels of extra-vulnerable households are present amongst those assessed: 8% is headed by an older person; 9.5% is female-headed; 0.7% is child-headed; and 2.8% has a person with disability- and 2.8% a chronically ill family member. Such households are at heightened risk in adverse circumstances – including threats of physical harm due to the conflict – and might require specialized life-saving assistance, as well as interventions to mitigate further exposure to protection violations. Similar vulnerability profiles and protection risks are present across refugee and (secondarily displaced) returnee populations, with a convergence of large numbers on urban centers also impacting on the situation of hosting populations.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Original Publication Date: 
11 May 2017
Document type: 
Coordination hub(s): 
National Level Coordination