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The causality of violence against health workers (and humanitarian aid workers more broadly) operating in complex security environments is poorly understood and difficult to untangle. It is often directly attributed to three dynamics: the shrinking humanitarian space, the changing nature of warfare and the politicization of aid. However, such nebulous macro-concepts can mask the context-specific aspects of individual incidents. In doing so, they limit the understanding of the issue and how to effectively address it.
Several ongoing projects by aid organizations aim to combat violence against health workers through advocacy and research and by producing concrete recommendations to promote the safe delivery of health care. One specific tool to address violence against health workers is international law, whose full potential to address the issue remains unrealized.
II. The scope and drivers of the problem
III. Organizational responses