Pakistani police wait outside a home where 2 aid workers were kidnapped, 2012 (Photo: S.S. Mirza)
Aid workers are at higher risk of being attacked and kidnapped than ever before, according to a new report from Humanitarian Outcomes.
The Aid Worker Security Report 2013 is titled "The New Normal: Coping with the kidnapping threat," and it focuses on the rise in kidnappings around the world.
According to the report, kidnapping of aid workers has quadrupled over the last 10 years, and there were more attacks on those workers in 2012 than in any year since 2000, when data collection began.
Last year there were 167 incidents of major violence against aid workers in 19 countries, which resulted in 274 workers being killed, kidnapped or seriously wounded. Kidnapping was the most common form of attack.
The report speculates that kidnapping is on the rise because it is "a fairly low-cost tactic, relative to the political impact and financial gains it can bring the perpetrators."
Many kidnappings and killings took place on roadways, where aid workers and their cargo were ambushed. The report calls for "new thinking on road security" to keep workers safe, as well as better communication and information sharing around kidnappings and a more nuanced approach to negotiating with abductors.
Kidnappings in Aghanistan outnumbered those in all other countries combined in 2012, with 49 people seized in 21 different incidents, Trust.org reports. Ten people were abducted in four incidents in Yemen, while other aid worker kidnappings took place in Niger, Pakistan, Somalia and South Sudan.
One NGO leader quoted in the report calls kidnapping "the new normal," and suggests that any agency working in an unstable environment is likely to face a kidnapping at some point.
This is the fourth year Humanitarian Outcomes, a research agency, has produced the Aid Worker Security Report. This year's report was made possible by grants from the Canadian, Irish and U.S. governments, as well as USAID.
Via UN Dispatch