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Characteristics, context and risk: NGO insecurity in conflict zones

1 January 2007

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Characteristics, context and risk: NGO insecurity in conflict zones

This paper reports on research conducted on the insecurity of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) between 1999 and 2002, with the goal of contributing to the debate on the reasons why NGO actors are targets of violence in conflict settings. The research involved the collection of data from three countries—Angola, Ecuador and Sierra Leone—and exploration of the relationship between levels of insecurity, context and the characteristics of NGOs. Four risk factors appear to heighten the degree of insecurity that NGOs face: (1) carrying out multiple types of activities and providing material aid; (2) ‘operationality’ (that is, implementing programmes and activities); (3) working with both sides of the conflict; and (4) integrating into the local community. The paper discusses the methodological approach adopted for the research, the differences between ambient and situational insecurity and the findings related to risk factors. It concludes with a summary of the study’s implications.


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