United Nations security management system and staff safety in humanitarian operations
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Over the course of the last 10 years, the humanitarian sector as a whole has increasingly become a target, as both frequency and brutality in violent attacks on humanitarian staff has increased steeply. With the terrorist attack on United Nations (UN) Headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, the threat to the United Nations became evident, and the organization saw the need to strengthen and unify the security management system in order to provide adequate security to the staff working in UN-led humanitarian operations. The purpose of this thesis has been to take a closer look at the United Nations Security Management System developed to ensure staff safety in humanitarian operations, and to study how this security system unfolds in the humanitarian operations in Dadaab, Kenya. Findings from my study suggests that there appear to have developed a gap between how the UN security management system, through its formal requirements and procedures, perceives the context and threats in Dadaab, and how the system is unfolded in the real context. This possible divergent image is revealed through empirical findings that suggest that staff members, both with UNHCR and implementing partners, violate the requirements determined in the UN security management system, as they are perceived to be inadequate to the context of Dadaab. If discrepant events that are at odds with the organization’s picture of the world are allowed to develop and accumulate unnoticed, it could open up to the possible cultural collapse resulting in an organizational accident.
Master's thesis in Risk management and societal safety