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Actors of Protection and the Application of the Internal Protection Alternative (APAIPA)

  November 2012 - June 2014

The APAIPA project aimed to improve the quality of asylum decision making by ensuring that the concepts of “internal protection alternative” and “actors of protection” are applied according to identified best practices and international human rights law.

These concepts are central in the assessment of protection claims. Yet, they remain two of the most controversial concepts present in the Qualification Directive. The concept of “Internal Protection Alternative” allows a Member State to deny refugee status because the applicant could find adequate protection in an alternative area of his/her country of origin (For example: can a Chechen asylum seeker find adequate protection in another part of Russia?). The concept of “Actors of Protection” defines who can provide protection and what level of protection this actor needs to provide. The use of this concept raises questions such as whether a clan, a militia or a UN body can provide protection.

ECRE and its project partners have researched the current application of the concepts of internal protection and actors of protection in 11 EU Member States (Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France and Sweden). The findings of the research are highlighted in a Comparative report as well as in 11 national reports providing a more detailed overview of the national practices.

ECRE and its project partners have also organised a series of workshops with national officials, members of the judiciary and legal practitioners in 4 countries. Two regional workshops were organised (Brussels and Budapest) as well as two national workshops (Berlin and London/Manchester).

It is hoped that this project will help evaluate the implementation of the recast Qualification Directive, and will assist Member States in improving the examination of international protection claims by making a better use of the concepts of internal protection alternative and actors of protection.


For more information, please read the project's background note.

With financial support from the European Refugee Fund.