Research

Kemp, E. & Merkelbach, M. (2016). Duty of Care: A review of the Dennis v Norwegian Refugee Council ruling and its implications. European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) - Link

On 29 June 2012, Steve Dennis, an employee of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), was injured and kidnapped, along with three other colleagues, following an attack during a VIP visit to the IFO II refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Four days later the hostages were set free during an armed rescue operation carried out by Kenyan authorities and local militia. Three years later, Dennis submitted a claim at the Oslo District Court against his former employer, the NRC, for compensation for economic and non-economic loss following the kidnapping. The Court concluded that the NRC acted with gross negligence in relation to this incident and found the NRC to be liable for compensation towards Dennis. 

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the court case and what lessons can be drawn from the Court’s ruling for the international aid sector. In order to achieve this, the paper reviews the Court’s legal reasoning and highlights the interrelation between the ruling, the concept of legal duty of care and security risk management. The paper concludes by providing an overview of some of the wider implications this case has for the international aid sector.

Chavanne, M. (2012). Pouvez-vous être poursuivi en justice en Suisse? Security Management Initiative (SMI), Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) - Link

Ce document traite au regard du droit suisse des règles qui incombent aux employeurs en ce qui concerne la protection des employés, ceci en prenant en particulier en compte les entités actives dans des environnements à hauts risques et dangereux (complexes). Il fait partie du suivi de l’étude « Can you get sued? Legal liability of international humanitarian aid agencies towards their staff » éditée par le SMI en 2011.

Le document du SMI de 2011 examinait la situation juridique dans cinq pays – France, Italie, Grande-Bretagne, Etats-Unis et Suède – et concluait que dans chaque pays les organisations d’aide internationale, à côté de leurs soucis moraux et éthiques portant sur le bien-être de leurs équipes d’employés, étaient bien soumises aux standards et règles juridiques relatives au devoir de protection et à la responsabilité découlant des relations employeurs-employés dans leur Etat respectif.

Kemp, E. & Merkelbach, M. (2011). Can you get sued: Legal liability of international humanitarian aid organisations towards their staff. Security Management Initiative (SMI), Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) - Link

This Policy Paper is produced by the Security Management Initiative (SMI) and is the result of an SMI research project. SMI focuses on topics of central interest to the risk and security management community of international aid agencies. SMI offers policy makers and practitioners an overview of key practices and conceptual issues as well as a summary of the recent evolution of a given topic, points to some of the main debates and suggests perspectives for moving forward. It thus aims to clarify and inform the risk and security management of non-profit organisations and contribute to the professionalisation of the sector.

The Importance of HR Management in Supporting Staff Working in Hazardous Environments (2011) - Link

This report summarises the research which was undertaken in order to examine the role of human resource management (HRM) practices and processes in the organisational support of the management of risk to staff deployed to hazardous environments by organisations in the humanitarian aid and security sectors. A further aim of the research was to identify current and emerging key issues with organisational support as well as the barriers to the success of the support for staff deployed in dangerous regions of the world. 

The key issues in this report are addressed from an organisational perspective, with a focus on the role of HRM and the crucial part the function should play in the identification, development and implementation of risk management strategies, policies and practices to support organisations from being found negligent in managing staff and exposed to potential litigation. 

Resilience - Building Resilient Managers in Humanitarian Organisations (2011) - Link

In the last decade there has been increasing interest in the level of stress, trauma, or violence experienced by humanitarian workers, but relatively little focus on the other side of the coin – qualities that promote resilience and thriving in these challenging environments. People In Aid, through this report, undertakes an initial exploration of the personal skills and strengths, and organizational structures and practices, which can promote resilience in managers working for international humanitarian organizations. 

Engaging Tomorrow's Global Humanitarian Leaders Today (Leadership) (2010) - Link

Today's international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) widely agree that they must improve the speed, quality and effectiveness of their humanitarian response, but this goal has to be achieved against a backdrop of climate change, global insecurity, scarce resources and increasing scrutiny from a wide range of stakeholders.

Burnout (2008) - Link

This document looks at terms such as burnout, compassion fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which are all used to describe situations where individuals, through the experience of a severe single event, or a combination of long-term stressful events experience a noticeable change in their psychological and physical health and well being.