Most international humanitarian agencies continue to give considerably less security support to their national field staff than their international staff in headquarters, a report by an independent humanitarian research group reveals.
According to the Aid Worker Security Report 2011 by the research group Humanitarian Outcomes, there is a “headquarters-country bias” throughout most of the sector despite the fact that international aid organizations are relying more and more on local aid workers to handle almost their entire operations. This is especially true for countries in the most violent settings, such as Somalia, where international agencies are forced to manage their programs remotely.
Because of this, national aid workers form the majority of victims of attack, despite the fact that they are subject to less attacks per capita than their international counterparts.
The report findings are based on data from the organization’s aid worker security database, which tracks reports of major incidents of violence against aid workers worldwide.
The report puts forward a number of recommendations to attain equitable security for national aid workers:
- Agencies should conduct a comprehensive audit of security resources and policies for national staff.
- All international agencies should assist their local partners in determining their security support needs and provide the resources to meet those needs.
- U.N. and non-U.N. agencies should increase efforts to ensure that national aid organizations are able to participate in security coordination platforms and mechanisms.
- Aid agencies should discuss the differing perceptions of risk among international and national staff and should aim to reach an understanding of common and specific security risks faced by staff.
- Donors should increase support for national aid worker security.