In a globalized world, more and more people are living or travelling abroad for longer or shorter periods of time. What is the state's responsibility to protect and assist workers, students, pensioners, tourists, and others residing abroad if they come in harm’s way and what are the main challenges? Examples unleashing the duty of care include natural disasters – e.g. earthquakes or tsunamis but also detainment – e.g. when a Norwegian citizen was arrested in Russia and accused of espionage or when two Norwegian men were accused of murder and imprisoned in DRC for years, or captivity – e.g. when a NRC employee was held hostage by a Somali militia, or when Statoil (now Equinor) and BP workers were subject to a terrorist attack in Algeria.

While the societal contract between states and their citizens imposes responsibilities on the state, what should citizens do to protect themselves when abroad - and how could new technology be of use in that regard? And are states obliged to assist foreign fighters who want to return to their home country?

The project ‘The Duty of Care: Protecting Citizens Abroad (DoC:PRO)’ has investigated these and other case studies across several European countries, and examined the opportunities for establishing international 'best practices' for the duty of care. The project is funded by The Research Council of Norway. At this seminar, a team of researchers will present their findings, revealing a central tension between individual freedom and private business interests on the one hand, and state responsibility, on the other.


  • 13:00-13:05 
    Chair: Halvard Leira, NUPI 
  • 13:05-13:20  
    The chains of care: Public and private duty of care under globalisation
    Project leader Nina Græger, NUPI
  • 13:20-13:40  
    Technology and digital diplomacy: New forms of protection and responsibilization
    Professor Jan Melissen, the Clingendael Institute, the Hague
  • 13:45-14:00  
    The duty of care in the humanitarian field
    Professor Anna Leander, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • 14:00-14:15  
    Why care about the duty of care for citizens abroad? International research impact and added value
    Dr. Kyle Grayson, University of Newcastle
  • 14:15-14:45  
    Q & A

The seminar will be live streamed on NUPI's YouTube channel: