Kidnapping briefing

From 2005 to 2015 there were on  average 82 kidnappings of humanitarian personnel reaching a peak of 141 in 2013. Mexico, Colombia, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Philippines or Syria are just some of the countries where aid workers are more exposed to this risk.

Even if most of these kidnappings are solved positively with the liberation of the hostages, such an event is particularly traumatic for the victims, their relatives, their organisations and the persons involved in the management of the case.

Preparation is essential, both at an individual and institutional level, so that a kidnapping case can be solved as fast as possible and to minimise any harm done to the victims. Similarly, knowing how to behave and react as an individual and as an organisation when faced with a kidnapping case, is crucial to achieve a positive outcome.

Support services offered

For organisations with staff in countries where kidnapping is a relevant risk, support services can include:

  • Clarification of the global and local dynamics and tendencies relating to kidnappings.

  • Clarification of the preventative measures at individual and institutional levels that should be taken to avoid kidnapping cases.

  • Should a person be kidnapped, recommendations so that during their captivity no further situations occur that add risks to an already complicated situation.

  • Recommendations to prepare families to react appropriately in case a relative is kidnapped.

  • Introduction and explanation of the “proof of life” and presentation of a template to be given to the organisation or to the victim’s next-of-kin.

These activities can be done at the organisation’s Headquarters, by telephone or Skype, or at the office of Humanitarian Access in English, Spanish and French.