Over the past 15 years, more than 3000 humanitarian aid workers have been killed1, kidnapped or injured while doing their job alongside populations weakened by war, armed conflict or natural catastrophes.
As humanitarian actors, we accept a certain level of risk in our work. Knowledge and practice of the humanitarian principles help to limit violent incidents but are not always sufficient by themselves to protect the delivery of humanitarian assistance. 329 people were victims of attacks in 20142, mainly in Afghanistan, Syria but also in South Sudan in the Central African Republic and in Pakistan.
The majority of victims were local staff and their deaths have been forgotten. These attacks often happen in countries where the government is unstable and unable to provide justice. ACF rejects the impunity that too often follows an attack on aid workers or humanitarian facilities. These crimes constitute an unacceptable attack on our shared values and the norms that safeguard humanity. They are not an inevitable consequence of war, but represent a failure of parties to conflict to respect and facilitate neutral and principled humanitarian action, which is their obligation under IHL, and a failure of the international community to speak out and demand accountability for the perpetrators of these crimes.
Action contre la Faim has always been concerned by the protection of its aid workers. But on 4th August 2006, 17 ACF staff were lined up in their office and summarily executed. They were bringing relief to the population around Muttur, a town in north-east Sri Lanka. Those responsible for this crime have never been brought to justice, and we have continued to speak out against the unacceptable vulnerability of national aid workers in many humanitarian settings.
Source : Aid Worker Security website https://aidworkersecurity.org
Humanitarian Outcomes, Aid Worker Security Report 2015. Figures at a glance