Humanitarians deployed to high-risk environments are at risk of multiple threats.
Ethical challenges, physical assaults, illness in the field, and psychological confrontation, can each or collectively undermine their efforts at supporting vulnerable groups. Additionally, hazy divisions between aid personnel and various military groups particularly if opponents in civil conflicts misinterpret their presence as political actors, can put lives at risk with an increasing number of humanitarian personnel kidnapped or killed over the last two decades.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of being caught in the midst of fragile, imploding states, inter-territorial disputes, and international politics is becoming the bread and butter of international humanitarian aid personnel. Such catastrophic events can leave many feeling abandoned by the international community, and psychologically paralysed while perpetrator and victim roles bloodily unravel before them. Irrespective of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court ruling the murder of humanitarian personnel a war crime. Not surprisingly, very few cases have been prosecuted at national level.