Safety & Security
This page brings together the most relevant information on aid worker safety and security from ReliefWeb's extensive collection of humanitarian content. The two main columns show substantive reports such as safety manuals and guidelines, statistical reports on security incidents involving aid workers, and analysis of the implications of engaging with private security providers and the role of peacekeepers in humanitarian interventions.
All Updates on Safety & Security
By Eujin Byun
Eujin Byun is from Korea and works as a UNHCR communications officer in South Sudan. In 2017, aid workers were the target of 46 major attacks in the country, including shootings, kidnappings and assaults. Despite the risks, Eujin recently decided to extend her stay. Here she explains why.
Juba – South Sudan is one of the most dangerous and challenging places in the world to be an aid worker. Thousands of South Sudanese risk their lives every day to provide lifesaving assistance in their own communities, with millions of people facing unprecedented levels of humanitarian need since the crisis broke out in December 2013.
In a country beset by conflict, one can wake up and find an emergency suddenly strike in their own village, driving individuals to provide assistance in extremely difficult and challenging conditions.
The South Sudan Humanitarian Access Review has been produced to provide a more comprehensive analysis of access incidents reported during the first half of the year (January to June 2018). Violence against personnel and assets has been featured as the most commonly reported, and often most severe, access constraint faced by partners in the field.
Eighty incidents were reported in July, with most occurring in Unity and Upper Nile (41 per cent). Violence affecting humanitarian personnel and assets continued to represent the majority of incidents (60 per cent).
South Sudan again topped the list of most violent countries in the world in which to deliver aid in 2017, in a report launched by Humanitarian Outcomes. today.
"It's the third consecutive year that South Sudan tops the global list, underscoring the complexities in delivering aid in this war, and the impunity with which armed actors operate when attacking aid workers," said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
UN records at least 10 aid worker deaths between January and June
April–May clashes result in more than 230 civilian deaths in Unity
Violence prompts relief actors to restrict operations in Maban
This update covers the period of June - July 2018 and is endorsed by FAO, UNICEF and WFP in South Sudan
Persistent conflict, disruption of livelihoods, poor economic conditions and challenges faced in the delivery of humanitarian assistance have pushed nearly 60 percent of the population into severe acute food insecurity during the peak of the lean season (June-July), when food shortages are typically at their worst levels.
Life-saving medication litters the ground across the Relief International compound in Bunj.
At nearby humanitarian agencies, offices and tukuls have been burnt to the ground, the windows of dozens of vehicles have been smashed while others were torched.
The homes of aid workers were also targeted by hundreds of demonstrators who invaded compounds across the town in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan, causing mass destruction. It was terrifying for international and local humanitarians who were caught up in the violent rampage on July 23.
7.1 million people facing severe food insecurity between May-July 2018 (IPC February 2018)
2.95 million people assisted by WFP in June 2018
1.76 million internally displaced people (OCHA)
2.47 million South Sudanese refugees (UNHCR)
202,776 seeking shelter with the UN (UNMISS)
Juba, July 28, 2018 - The South Sudan NGO Forum strongly condemns the unacceptable violence against humanitarian actors, including the most recent attack in Maban, as it reduces aid workers’ capacity to implement essential services and activities, leaving the most vulnerable people in South Sudan at greater risk of hunger and disease.
The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) has expressed outrage and condemns the attack on humanitarian workers and the destruction of facilities and equipment at the Maban camp, in Northern Upper Nile.
In a Press statement issued on Wednesday JMEC said:
“Attacks on aid workers who diligently offer their services to alleviate the suffering of people of South Sudan, are deeply regrettable and indeed a violation of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access signed in December 2017.”
Juba, South Sudan. 24 July 2018 – CARE has joined United Nations and civil society organisations in South Sudan to denounce recent attacks on aid workers and destruction of property in Maban County.
“CARE reiterates that aid workers should never be a target of violence,” says Rosalind Crowther, CARE Country Director in South Sudan. “Aid workers should be protected to allow them to work freely to assist millions suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict.”
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN/NEW YORK, JULY 24, 2018— The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) suspended most of its activities in Maban, South Sudan, after a violent attack yesterday.
(Juba, 23 July 2018): The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for South Sudan, Adnan Khan, has strongly condemned attacks on aid workers and facilities in Bunj, Maban County in Upper Nile.
The violence started as a peaceful protest at what is perceived as a lack of employment opportunities but quickly became violent and led to the attacks and looting and burning of humanitarian premises and damage to humanitarian vehicles.
Fifty-nine access incidents were reported in June, with the majority (66 per cent) occurring in Unity, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Central Equatoria and Jonglei. 68 per cent of the organizations reporting being affected are INGOs and over recent months, incidents involving violence against aid workers and assets have remained the majority, at around 60 per cent. Again this month, aid operations in Western Bahr el Ghazal have continued to be impeded by blockages and bureaucratic challenges – a situation which has persisted since the start of 2018.
• Humanitarian Coordinator call for urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance in Tambura, Western Equatoria.
• Humanitarians call for pause to enable them reach thousands of people as fighting continues in Unity.
• Renewed fighting in Wau’s Baggari area forces thousands of people to flee their homes.
• Partners scale up seed and tools distribution to communities hardest hit by hunger and malnutrition in planting season.
• Up to 2.4 million children not receiving an education in South Sudan.
Author Andrew Edward Tchie Conflict and Policy Advisor on Syria, Senior Visiting Research Follow Kings College London Centre for Conflict and Health, Visiting Researcher at PRIO, and PhD Candidate at University of Essex., University of Essex
UN records at least seven aid worker deaths since January
ICRC delivers humanitarian assistance in Leer for the first time since early April
USAID/FFP partner WFP reaches 2.6 million people with emergency food assistance in May