Korean Humanitarian Workers Trained on Staying Safe in Hostile Environments by UN Migration Agency

Capacity Building

Seoul - Humanitarian workers around the world are increasingly becoming targets of terrorism and other attacks. According to the Aid Worker Security Database, since 2012 some 250 people have come under attack in the field every year.

As the Republic of Korea (ROK) expands its humanitarian assistance programmes, there are currently about 900 Korean aid workers deployed in the countries experiencing conflicts or other disasters, with others planning to follow them into the field.

To enhance their awareness of personal security and safety, IOM, the UN Migration Agency in the ROK this week (12-15/09) organized a four-day Safe and Secure Approach in Field Environments (SSAFE) training for 34 aid workers from the Government, UN agencies and NGOs in Seoul.

On 13 September, IOM also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Peace Supporting Standby Force (IPSSF), the Korean armed forces unit responsible for training for peace keeping missions, to deliver SSAFE trainings in the ROK.

The SSAFE training equips UN staff and other humanitarian actors with an understanding of safety and security issues before they are deployed to hazardous environments. The curriculum was jointly developed by the UN System Staff College and the United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS).

Three IOM security experts introduced practical skills including radio communications, awareness of weapons, vehicle security and hostage survival, using highly interactive and participatory methods. A field exercise allowed participants to apply the skills that they had learned.

“As more Korean aid workers work in unstable environments, they need to know how to protect themselves and cope with unexpected dangers. IOM ROK began this training three years ago and we would like to continue it, as there is a real need,” said Miah Park, IOM ROK Head of Office.

“By the end of this course, we expect that participants will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to identify threats to their personal safety and security, and to mitigate the risks,” said William Wairoa-Harrison, IOM’s global head of staff security, who attended the Seoul event.

Funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), IOM ROK has implemented various capacity building workshops for national humanitarian actors, including a psychosocial support workshop and a public health emergency response seminar.

For more information, please contact Miah Park at IOM ROK, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email: mipark@iom.int

  • IOM security expert Steve Mayall presents SSAFE in Seoul. Photo: IOM