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With regular contributions from the GISF Secretariat and guest experts, the GISF Blog explores a range of topical, contextual and theoretical developments affecting the practice of humanitarian SRM.

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Counter-terrorism Legislation and NGO Security Risk Management

Acceptance, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management

In November, GISF attended a two-part expert roundtable at Chatham House that discussed the challenges NGOs face when working with non-state armed groups, in particular given the impact of counter-terrorism legislation. This is a brief summary of the key points raised and some of the implications counter-terrorism legislation has on the security risk management of NGOs.

22 Dec 2016

Greater Accountability and Respect for Human Rights: A Contract Guidance Tool for Private Security Services

Private Security Providers

As an NGO, do you hire or are you considering hiring a private security company (PSC) to ensure the security of your operations? Do you implement guidelines for the hiring of private security services? How do you select a PSC? Does the contract include respect for human rights? DCAF is developing a practical Contract Guidance Tool to support humanitarian NGOs, as well as states, international organisations and other clients to include human rights-based considerations in their contracting of PSCs. DCAF believes your insights and experiences can help inform other clients in similar circumstances. Contact DCAF at ppps@dcaf.ch to get involved in this project: share your experiences and good practices, discuss what tools and guidance would be useful for you, or give DCAF feedback on their Contract Guidance Tool.

7 Nov 2016

The State of Emergency in Ethiopia and Aid Worker Security

Context Analysis, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management, Safety

Ethiopia has witnessed months of often violent protests but the week of demonstrations leading up to the state of emergency declaration earlier this month saw increasingly violent protests spreading, raising security concerns among humanitarian organisations. This blog takes a closer look at what is currently happening in Ethiopia and the implications the state of emergency has for aid worker security.

31 Oct 2016

Reclaiming Humanity for Humanitarian Security Risk Management

NGO Security Management

This post discusses Larissa Fast’s book ‘Aid in Danger’ and how some of the ideas in the book can be applied to humanitarian security risk management. In her blog, Christina Wille, primarily argues that the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence are not a magic shield capable of protecting aid workers because humanitarian agencies are actors within and not separate from the contexts in which they work. Wille also argues that security incidents are not only the result of external factors affecting humanitarian agencies but that factors resulting from internal agency policy and staff behaviour also impact aid worker security. Good security risk management means taking into consideration internal factors as well as external ones.

8 Sep 2016

Aid Worker Security on World Humanitarian Day: A Year in Review

Context Analysis, NGO Security Management, Safety

On World Humanitarian Day the GISF commemorates the national and international aid workers who lost their lives this past year and remember the colleagues who continue carrying out humanitarian work in challenging contexts despite the risks they face.

19 Aug 2016

Diverse, Inclusive and Safe

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance, Safety

This blog by Richard Chapman-Harris raises a key consideration for humanitarian organisations operating in high-risk countries: What does equality, diversity and inclusion mean for security risk management? Do they relate? Do they contradict each other? In his blog, Richard shares some key steps that organisations can take to be more inclusive and diverse while still ensuring staff security. Within humanitarian organisations, the diverse profiles of staff can affect these individuals’ risk profile and present both challenges and opportunities in relation to their safety and security.

26 Jul 2016

The Security of Lone Aid Workers

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Safety

Existing security risk management tools and procedures tend to overlook the unique security needs of lone aid workers. These staff members are compelled by their unique circumstances to rely primarily on themselves to ensure their own safety and security, and must do so by putting in place a number of basic security measures to mitigate the risk and impact of potential security incidents. This blog has been published in English and in Spanish.

11 Jul 2016

Aid Worker Security and Wellbeing at the World Humanitarian Summit

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit is being held later this month in Turkey. It is being billed as a global call to action; an opportunity to change the landscape of humanitarian action and to address some of the most critical issues of our time. It is providing a platform to focus on global humanitarian needs and how we can do better for the people caught up in the numerous crises affecting the world today and in the future. It can safely be said that there are very mixed expectations regarding the outcomes, however the hope is that changes that translate into more effective humanitarian assistance will be seen as a result. The Summit presents an opportunity to continue to highlight and raise the profile of the issue of aid worker safety, security and wellbeing; reinforcing the message that if you want to deliver effective humanitarian assistance you need a competent and fit workforce, well equipped to cope with the demanding conditions they will be working under.

18 May 2016

Security and Humanitarian work in Pakistan: Was 2015 a Turning Point?

NGO Security Management

In the past decade, many areas of Pakistan have endured a high level of insecurity. There are no set patterns to the violence, which has varied from attacks on law enforcement agencies and schools to sectarian violence and the targeting of medical professionals engaged in polio vaccination programmes. Regardless of the types and motives of these attacks, the civilian population have paid a high price. Agence France Presse state that by 2014, nearly 7,000 people had been killed in militant attacks in Pakistan since the emergence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TPP).

14 Apr 2016

The resurgence of al-Shabaab in Somalia and implications for the humanitarian sector

Context Analysis

Kenya, along with a number of African Union countries operating under the umbrella of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), moved into southern Somalia in 2012 in order to contain al-Shabaab’s movements following a series of attacks by the group in northern Kenya. The AMISOM mission was able to expel the Al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliated group from the majority of the main population areas of southern Somalia, though al-Shabaab maintained its military strength in many rural areas. Since January 2016, al-Shabaab has begun to regain some of the ground lost to AMISOM in the last four years. A key event was a major al-Shabaab attack in mid-January against an AMISOM base in El Ade, south-western Somalia, near the Kenyan border. During the attack by dozens of al-Shabaab fighters, over 60 Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) troops were killed and substantial numbers of weapons were taken by the attackers.

23 Mar 2016