Humanitarian Outcomes Releases Fresh Findings

Humanitarian Outcomes has documented the killing of 108 aid workers in 2020, with major attacks occurring in 41 countries, including South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In its latest Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD) findings, the team of researchers in the humanitarian sector also noted the kidnapping of 125 aid workers among 475 that were attacked last year.

The AWSD is a global compilation of reports on major security incidents involving deliberate acts of violence affecting aid workers.

It noted that South Sudan experienced a surge in attacks on aid workers in 2020 after a brief dip in 2019, despite the formal end to its civil war in September 2018.

Fifty-two attacks on aid workers were recorded in South Sudan either by shooting or bodily assault.

‘As departing UN peacekeeping forces handed over to government authorities, an increase in intergroup tensions, militarised cattle raiding, and proliferating youth gangs drove the spike in incidents’, the report found.

In DRC, kidnapping was the highest form of attack against aid workers between January and December 2020; while the bloody insurgency and political upheaval in Mali worsened  violence against aid workers.

In Central African Republic (CAR), violence, due to a lingering civil war and election violence, led to increase in attacks on aid workers since 2018.

Aid workers are constantly targeted, their offices looted, and vehicles stolen by armed groups in the CAR. The United Nations reported 66 of such incidences in January of 2021 alone.

‘Shooting as a means of violence rose dramatically, and attacks occurring outside of the original conflict areas speak to a growing atmosphere of lawlessness and the spread of opportunistic violent crime, fuelled by abundant firearms’, the Humanitarian Outcomes stated.

Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions seemed to have only caused a spike in attacks on national aid workers which rose to a 95 percent high in 2020.

‘Although not at the same level as these other violent contexts, the rise in attacks against aid workers in Tigray, Ethiopia, during 2020 presaged a wave of violence that has worsened further in 2021, including the recent ambush and killing of three INGO staff’, it added.

Records suggest that this trend of violent attacks will affect humanitarian assistance, with many aid organisations already pulling out in response to the attacks.

Source: AWSD

Photo source: MSF


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