Given that aid workers frequently operate in complex and insecure settings, some risks are inherent to humanitarian action. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a significant increase, in absolute terms, in deliberate attacks against humanitarian professionals. Furthermore, most aid workers do not benefit from specific protection under international law. While aid agencies and workers take steps to protect themselves through negotiations and by building acceptance or taking protective and deterrent measures, significant gaps remain in their protection from targeted violence. National staff members are particularly vulnerable - constituting the vast majority of aid workers and of attack victims - and yet tend to receive significantly less protection.
Building upon ATHA's podcast, "Humanitarians Under Attack: Delivering Aid in Insecure Settings" (November, 2014), which examined the main security challenges facing humanitarian professionals and dilemmas arising around principled humanitarian action in difficult security environments, this podcast will explore the challenges and strategies for enhancing the protection of humanitarian aid workers under international law. This conversation will focus specifically on the legal protection of aid workers operating in insecure settings, including efforts to close the protection gap for humanitarian actors and promote accountability for perpetrators.