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About the Protection Cluster

Structure of the cluster

The Protection Cluster Working Group (PCWG) is a broad-based, participatory forum, comprising on an equal basis of United Nations humanitarian, human rights and development agencies and actors, as well as local and international non-governmental organisations in both Gaza Strip and West Bank.  The PCWG is part of the humanitarian effort in the oPt and accountable to the UN DSRSG/Humanitarian Coordinator. It’s the main inter-agency forum in the oPt for the collaboration and overall coordination of activities supporting protection in humanitarian action.  

There is are three three sub-working groups that are part of and feed into the PCWG. These are the the Child Protection sub-working group led by UNICEF, The Legal Aid sub-working group and the Settler Violence sub-working group. These sub-working groups meet regularly and when necessary and update the general PCWG. 

Members of the PCWG meet periodically- once a month- to discuss issues of concern. However, in cases of emergency, the group members meet on a weekly basis. Moreover, any of the group members might call for an urgent meeting- upon consultation with cluster leads- if there is any urgent need for action. Meetings usually take place in Ramallah and Gaza cities.

The role of the cluster lead

Working in accordance with the IASC Generic Terms of Reference of Cluster Leads at Country Level, OHCHR is the lead agency of the oPt PCWG. UNICEF is the sector lead under the PCWG cluster for child protection, NRC is the Task Force lead for the Legal Aid group and OHCHR leads the Settler Violence Core group.

OHCHR endeavours to enhance the coordination of information sharing among concerned partners at country and international level. They also endeavour to coordinate inter agency efforts – when required – such as the development of a common strategy, of a right-based gap analysis of protection needs, the consolidation of protection inputs to the needs analysis of the Humanitarian Needs Overview, the consolidation of protection inputs to the Strategic Response Plan, contingency plans and other documents as agreed by the members of the cluster. In addition, they ensure the linkage with other clusters/sectors of humanitarian action in the oPt as well as global clusters/sectors. 

Scope of work/ types of activities covered by the cluster

The PCWG has identified five areas of focus which are protection of life and personal integrity, land and property, liberty and freedom of movement, child protection, preventing forced and unlawful displacement, and finally protection of family unity.

In order to achieve progress in these areas of focus, members of the PCWG implement activities that help:

  • increase the accountability of all duty bearers under IHL and IHRL so that they respect and fulfil their responsibilities. This is achieved by the members’ follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations of relevant Special Rappoerteurs’/Special committees’ reports.
  • reduce and prevent human rights and IHL violations by physical presence, monitoring, reporting and advocacy.
  • promote freedom of movement for persons and goods within the oPt by implementing the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the wall; access for women, girls, boys and men to quality and protective essential services, including psychosocial support, health care, and education, facilitating the delivery of services/humanitarian assistance by international and local humanitarian organisations.
  • implements an inter-agency collaborative IDP response and monitoring mechanism.
  • gather financial and other support for response programs appealed in the SRP.   
  • report to various UN bodies including the Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies, the General Assembly, Security Council (including on resolutions 1612 and the 1325) and other UN bodies.
  • provide information and updates through the Humanitarian Coordinator’s /Resident Coordinator’s Office, as and when deemed appropriate and necessary by the members of the group.

In support of the overall Humanitarian Programme Cycle strategy, and specifically Strategic Objective 1 relating to enhancing the protection of populations in Gaza, Area C, the Seam Zone and East Jerusalem, the Protection Cluster response strategy will focus on achieving two main objectives:

  1. To increase respect for human rights and international humanitarian law
  2. To prevent and mitigate the impacts of abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and of the armed conflict.

To achieve these objectives, and to address the priority protection concerns identified in the Protection Cluster Needs Analysis Framework,38 the Protection Cluster will implement a range of projects that provide direct protective support and response to affected communities and vulnerable groups, actively promote accountability and access to justice, challenge the policies and practices that are at the root of violations, and promote protective impact by humanitarian actors in other clusters/sectors.


Connie M Varela Pedersen
Protection Cluster Coordinator
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

West Bank:

Lan Shiow Tsai
Human Rights Officer- Protection Cluster West Bank
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Amina Abu Safa
Human Rights Officer- Protection Cluster West Bank
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)


Michelle Rice
Human Rights Officer- Protection Cluster Gaza
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Said Almadhoun
Human Rights Officer- Protection Cluster Gaza
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

2019 oPt HRP Snapshot - Protection Cluster