The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has always undertaken activities that aim to protect lives and human well-being and secure respect for the individual. Its mission is to: "... protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles ..." The ICRC's multidisciplinary operational response capacity, in which protection and assistance are combined, and its special relationship with international humanitarian law (IHL) make the institution unlike any other. Protection has always occupied a unique place within the ICRC. It is at the core of the organization's identity and is the motive force of its activities. This policy document begins by defining key notions and describing the framework for action. It then outlines the principles of the ICRC's protection framework, as well as the operational guidelines based on that framework. The document concludes by describing different types of ICRC protection activity and outlining specific considerations related to the various categories of beneficiary.