For a number of years now, humanitarian NGOs have been faced with a high level of insecurity in some of the regions in which they work. This insecurity presents a twofold challenge. On the one hand it puts humanitarian aid workers at risk and thereby threatens the implementation of humanitarian programmes. On the other, NGOs have to accept that carrying out humanitarian assistance in accordance with the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence is not in itself sufficient to engender security for their staff, their beneficiaries and their programmes. Hence, the insecurity poses an existential threat to humanitarian NGOs and challenges their identity. It forces them to actively deal with their security – something that humanitarian NGOs are not used to because they often not only lack the resources to do so, but it also contradicts their traditional interpretation of the principles that guide their work.