New research reveals dangers to humanitarian workers in conflict zones

April 18, 2013 by Joan Fallon

Larissa Fast, assistant professor of conflict resolution at the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, has co-authored three new research reports documenting and analyzing the dangers facing humanitarian aid staff working in conflict zones around the world. The reports, recently published in Insecurity Insight, have already been downloaded more than 2,000 times.

In recent years, the number of aid workers killed and injured by firearms, explosive weapons, bombs and other forms of severe violence has risen to unprecedented levels, said Fast.

"Aid workers are first and foremost civilians," said Fast, whose forthcoming book, "Aid in Danger," also addresses this issue. "Protecting them is a critical part of the overall effort to protect civilians in armed conflict."

Fast coauthored the reports with Christina Wille, director of Insecurity Insight, a Swiss organization that generates data on the impact of insecurity on people's lives and helps organizations set up data-gathering systems on related topics.

The three new reports are:

This research was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland. The Kroc Institute and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, both at the University of Notre Dame, provided additional support for data entry in the Security in Numbers database used for the analysis.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 18, 2013
I really have to question the value of this particular research project.
Aid workers typically serve in areas of the world that suffer from both political and economic disasters. I mean, the indigenous people are at great risk.
Why shouldn't some fat and sassy (or not) aid worker be exempt?
I do hope that all volunteers are well drilled with the risks they are taking.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.