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Neglect and Failures of Human Security in Humanitarian Settings: Challenges and Recommendations

  • Robert Macpherson (a1) and Frederick M. Burkle (a2) (a3)

The lack of attention to basic safety and security standards by the humanitarian community is endemic. The tragic bombing and loss of life of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq in 2003 is but one of many unfortunate examples; these incidents are increasing in number. Tools for establishing an organizational security framework are readily available. Capacity to implement this framework requires understanding the culture of safety and security and individual and organizational leadership. This report outlines the essential steps and components necessary to meet this requirement.

MacphersonR, Burkle FM Jr. Neglect and Failures of Human Security in Humanitarian Settings: Challenges and Recommendations. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(2):1-5.

Corresponding author
Correspondence: Robert Macpherson, BA Cosantoir Group 2823 Providence Road, Suite 125 Charlotte, NC 28211 USA E-mail
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1.United Nations. Press Briefing by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Spokesman for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Afghanistan. August 21, 2003. Accessed October 22, 2012.
2.United Nations. Report of the Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Personnel in Iraq, October 20, 2003, Executive Summary. Accessed October 22, 2012.
3.United Nations. UN-SIAP-Security in Iraq Accountability Panel Report Summary-2004 Security Management Initiative. Accessed October 23, 2012.
4. InterAction. Suggested Guidance for Implementing InterAction's Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS), MOSS Implementation. June 14, 2006.
5.Kemp, E, Merkelbach, M. Can you get sued? Legal liability of international humanitarian aid organisations towards their staff. Security Management Initiative (SMI), Geneva Centre for Security Policy, November 2011.
6.Macpherson, R, Pafford, B. Safety and Security Handbook. Safety and Security Responsibilities. Care International. 2004:7.
7.Gibbs, NE. Elements of a Good Security Architecture. Internal Auditor. February 2007.
8.United Nations. Towards a Culture of Security and Accountability. The Report of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises Worldwide. June 9, 2008:60-74.
9. Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT). Accessed October 24, 2012.
10.Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD). Major Attacks on Aid Workers: Summary Statistics for 2011. Accessed October 31, 2012.
11.Stoddard, A, Harmer, A. Supporting Security for Humanitarian Action: A Review of Critical Issues for the Humanitarian Community. Humanitarian Outcomes. Commissioned by conveners of the Montreux X conference, March 2010. Accessed October 21, 2012.
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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
  • ISSN: 1049-023X
  • EISSN: 1945-1938
  • URL: /core/journals/prehospital-and-disaster-medicine
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