Humanitarian aid workers belonging to UN organisations, PVOss / NGOs or the Red Cross / Red Crescent have traditionally enjoyed both international legal protection, and de facto immunity from attack by belligerent parties. However, attacks on humanitarian workers have occasionally occurred, and became more frequent in the 1990s and 2000s. This is attributed to a number of factors, including the increasing number of humanitarian workers deployed, the increasingly unstable environments in which they work, and the erosion of the perception of neutrality and independence.

Table of contents
1 Trends in risks faced by humanitarian workers
2 List of recent attacks on humanitarian workers
3 Related links
4 External links

Trends in risks faced by humanitarian workers

  • Wars between states became much less common in the period following the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, these wars have been largely replaced by an increased incidence of internal conflict and resulting anarchy, increasing the risk to civilians and humanitarian workers alike.
  • Between 1985 and 1998 just under 50% of deaths were in workers from UN programmes. 25% were UN peacekeepers.
  • Most deaths are due to deliberate violence.
  • One third of deaths occur in the first three months of deployment, with 17% occurring within the first 30 days.
Source: Sheik, Gutierrez, et al, British Medical Journal 2000;321:1668

List of recent attacks on humanitarian workers

Related links

External links