Protection of Civilians in Humanitarian Settings

21 April 2016, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

This panel discussion, organised by the Humanitarian Action Study Group of the Development Studies Association of Ireland, looked at the challenges of protection of civilians in humanitarian settings, with a focus on Sudan, South Sudan, and Mali, comparing the challenges encountered and the approaches taken.

The speakers explored the different situations, the risks to civilians caught in the conflicts, and the ways that protection was used to try to mitigate these risks. Both protection of civilians in a peacekeeping context, and the use of protection strategies more broadly in a humanitarian context were considered.


Dr Andrea Breslin focused on the protection of civilians in South Sudan (Malakal). Andrea has worked for actors engaged in human rights, refugees and protection on various programmes over the past decade, including OHCHR/UNMISS, UNDP, Irish Aid, and Amnesty. Andrea holds a PhD and an LLM in International Human Rights Law, and has worked in Sudan, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania, and Palestine. Andrea is currently working as an independent consultant for organisations including Trócaire, the German Institute for Human Rights, the Irish Consortium for Gender Based Violence, and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Brian Casey focused on the protection challenges in Sudan (Darfur). Brian is an independent humanitarian consultant and the Project Manager for the Irish Consultative Process to the World Humanitarian Summit. Brian has over 16 years’ experience designing, managing and monitoring emergency programmes and has worked in over 20 disaster affected countries across a broad spectrum of natural and human-made crises. He was formally the Head of Humanitarian Programmes with GOAL where he worked for 11 years. Brian holds a first class Master’s degree in Humanitarian Action from UCD and is qualified management accountant.

Welmoet Wels focused on the protection of civilians in the context of Mali (Gao). Welmoet has worked in refugee protection and protection of civilians for the past seven years for UNHCR and UN peacekeeping missions in DR Congo, South Sudan and Mali. She has extensive experience in designing and delivering training on protection of civilians. She holds an MA and an LLM and is currently starting up a PhD in international humanitarian law. She is currently working as an independent consultant.

Chair: Dr Walt Kilroy, Associate Director, Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, Dublin City University

About the Humanitarian Action Study Group

The Humanitarian Action Study Group brings together both scholars and practitioners of humanitarian action to share knowledge, expertise and experience in the areas of humanitarian action, humanitarian intervention, human rights / protection, complex emergencies and the inter-section of development and humanitarian programming. If appropriate, the group will also act as a focal point for networking in support new research initiatives (including applied research) in these areas.

All are welcome. To join this study group, or for further information, please contact the Group Convenor, Dr. Rob Kevlihan, at:, stating your institution/ngo, area of interest/research and any suggestions for activities.

Please find a map of the venue here.

Please view the Open Street Map here.


Venue: Room G16, ​Irish School of Ecumenics​ - ​Loyola Institute Building, Trinity College, Dublin (marked as "Physiology Building" on TCD maps)