Kidnapping and the consequent use of hostages is hardly a new method for terrorist organisations to express their defiance towards enemy states, or even hostile home states. What differentiates current hostage situations from those of the past is the way in which they have been adapted to today’s information society. It seems that terrorist groups have found a new use for hostages: propaganda.
On Tuesday 10 February the Frontline Club partnered with GISF to host an event on embedding journalism with aid agencies with a discussion by an expert panel. The evening was entitled ‘Embedding with Aid Agencies: Editorial Integrity and Security Risks’.
Nigeria’s power dynamics are more complex than the north/south, Christian/Muslim, rich/poor dichotomies often presented. Whoever wins the election there are multiple competing scenarios that may emerge and NGOs cannot map, let alone plan for, all of them. When confronted by an array of threats, most of which you have limited to no influence over, one solution is to do the routine things well and focus on your capacity to react.
The looming 2015 elections have heightened religious tensions in Myanmar. Hate speech has intensified and became more common and aggressive on blogs, web forums and Facebook pages. Hateful and inflammatory comments have served political groups as a tool to dehumanise Muslims. Considering the country’s political, social and religious context, we explore some challenges that projects monitoring inflammatory speech in blogs, forums, online newspapers and social media platforms might face in Myanmar.
Fighting to establish an Islamic ‘Caliphate’, Boko Haram hit the UN compound in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in 2011, killing 18. After the UN attack, President Goodluck Jonathan ‘reaffirmed his government’s “total commitment” to combating terrorism.’ In early 2013, Boko Haram gunmen killed nine polio workers, one of the deadliest attacks against aid workers in the region. Recent attacks in Baga and Doron Baga, where approximately 2,000 civilians were killed have further increased security difficulties for humanitarian organisations. Located in the Northeastern tip of Nigeria, humanitarian agencies have been unable to reach the destroyed towns since the attack due to the unstable situation.
Webinar – Communications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery: Challenges and Opportunities for Security Risk Management
GISF teamed up with DisasterReady.org to host a webinar entitled ‘Communications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery: Challenges and Opportunities for Security Risk Management’. The webinar launches GISF’s new paper of the same title, and features engaging discussion on opportunities and challenges of communications technology in humanitarian delivery from Imogen Wall (the paper’s co-editor) and Rory Byrne (Founder and CEO of Security First).
New technologies and data protection: are humanitarian organisations ready to face security threats of the 21st century?
The increasing use of electronic data by the aid industry and growing fears about data protection emphasise the lack of clear rules for data management. In the years ahead, more will need to be done to appease fears around data protection. However, if rules and adequate security measures are established, no one can deny that technology will enable aid organisations to reach an even larger number of people in need.
Under the counter-terrorism framework, problematic situations extend from Colombia to Yemen through any country where one of the parties to the armed conflict is listed as a terrorist organisation. Likewise, some activities that are at the core of humanitarian action cannot be undertaken without making contact with proscribed groups. What happens then, when two ideas collide?
The killing of kidnapped British aid workers, David Haines and Alan Henning, by the Islamic state (IS) is another testimony of the security risks humanitarian personnel are increasingly facing. With the plummeting security situation in Iraq and Syria, humanitarian actors have increased their activity on social media to draw attention to their causes and to the plight of their beneficiaries. This activity, however, is putting them at an increased risk of kidnapping by militant groups.
The objective of this project is to begin a conversation towards a better understanding of the specific nature of the security threats created by the digital revolution, and the implications for the security risk management of humanitarian staff and programmes.