The deteriorating security situation for aid workers remains one of the vital but overlooked issues in humanitarian aid. Despite advancements in ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law, violations of its rules remain a widespread problem. The increase in attacks against aid workers in recent years once again raises questions concerning the scope of their protection and ways to improve it. With non-State armed groups at the center of contemporary conflicts, engaging them is not longer only an option, but becomes a necessity. Traditionally, studies have focused on why actors violate International Humanitarian Law rather than on what encourages them to respect it. Relying only on sanctions has proven to be rather ineffective. This thesis demonstrates that incentives are central in understanding and influencing behavior of non-State armed groups and proposes the application of international humanitarian law without making a distinction as to the source of obligation to all parties involved in a conflict, as a promising way to achieve greater adherence to international humanitarian law and thus a tangible solution to keep aid workers safe.
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