Countering crime in hostile environments: securing vulnerable humanitarian aid workers in Paua New Guinea

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Computer and Security Science




Originally published in the Proceedings of the 7th Australian Security and Intelligence Conference, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, 1-3 December, 2014. Available here


Crime is a core issue for companies and more recently for NGOs working in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The nation is facing major challenges as crime levels rise exponentially across the country. Erstwhile un-affected humanitarian operations were often seen as immune from criminality, but now have become just as likely to be targeted as any other organisation. Consequently, there is a need to adopt security measures, but maybe not necessarily as draconian as those used hitherto by major companies. People-centered, locally-owned is a concept whereby the local population is encouraged to protect the delivery of health services and aid from humanitarian providers. The inclusive approach challenges previous concepts of what is required to protect workers in intimidating and dangerous areas. A mind-set change is required. The proposed multi-layered approach stems from defence-in-depth strategies. Although such a strategy is still primarily based upon the security risk assessment process, at the core of all operational security required in challenging environments, it also requires a proactive approach combined with engagement with the local population based around the Aid-security-triangle. The methodology used interpretative analysis of relevant literature underpinned by personal interviews with selected stake holders in the PNG during 2014.

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