More support should be available for aid workers UK Conference says


Aid workers are increasingly vulnerable. 2013 was the worst year ever, with over 474 relief workers suffering serious attack ( Given the increase in the number of humanitarian workers currently deployed, the unstable political and environmental conditions they work in, and the erosion of the perception of neutrality and independence, this issue is cause for serious concern.

Borderless 2017, on Thursday, February 16 at Harrogate International Centre, is the first conference of its kind in the UK to address the welfare of volunteers and aid workers. A programme of workshops and presentations will address a wide range of issues facing the sector, from kidnapping to natural disasters, with a keynote speech from Professor Anthony Redmond OBE, Founder of UK Med and Co Founder of the Humanitarian & Conflict Response Institute. Also speaking is Steve Dennis, who in 2012 was shot and kidnapped while working for the Norwegian Refugee Council; he later sued and won a case against them which sent shockwaves through the sector.

Event chair Dr Jonathan O’Keeffe, Regional Medical Director, International SOS says ‘NGO and Humanitarian workers are disproportionately caught up in health and security incidents abroad. We need to apply the principals of travel risk management, conduct proper risk assessments and prepare aid workers to face the challenges of working in unstable environments. Volunteering or working for an aid organization should not mean sacrificing one’s health and safety to look after others.

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