Not a Target: Ensuring the Protection of Aid Workers


Melanie Sauter


Violence against aid workers has become a major concern for most humanitarian agencies. At the same time, compliance with and respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) is deteriorating. Irregular warfare, meaning governments fighting armed groups mostly in their own territory, has become the norm. These modern wars pose a challenge to the enforcement of international law. The prevailing culture of impunity stimulates non-compliance with IHL for all conflict parties. As long as they are being targeted, aid agencies cannot effectively operate and help the most vulnerable. This is why the law protecting humanitarians needs to be standardized and better reporting and monitoring mechanisms are required.