Safety and Security of Humanitarian Workers

As civilians increasingly become targets in conflict, so do providers of humanitarian assistance. Despite the legal protection afforded by the Geneva Conventions, the 1994 Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel and Article 8 of the International Criminal Court, few states have prosecuted perpetrators of acts of violence against humanitarian aid workers. In 2005, an Optional Protocol to the 1994 Convention was agreed after several years of negotiations. It extends the scope of legal protection to all UN operations and to associated non-governmental organizations personnel established for the purpose of delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance.

As part of its commitment to reverse the trend in violence against aid workers, Canada is working to improve the training made available for aid agency staff and enhancing legal protections for humanitarian workers. Canada has played an important role in discussions on increasing funds for UN security management. We also provide financial resources in support of security in specific humanitarian operations.  Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has provided funding support through the Global Peace and Security Fund to support groundbreaking work that tracks the major security incidents against aid workers and provides constant monitoring and updated analysis of trends in the security environment for aid operations.