This paper aims to contribute to debates about humanitarian governance and insecurity in post-conflict situations. It takes the case of South Sudan to explore the relations between humanitarian agencies, the international community, and local authorities, and the ways international and local forms of power become interrelated and contested, and to what effect. The paper is based on eight months of ethnographic research in various locations in South Sudan between 2011 and 2013, in which experiences with and approaches to insecurity among humanitarian aid actors were studied. The research found that many security threats can be understood in relation to the everyday practices of negotiating and maintaining humanitarian access. Perceiving this insecurity as violation or abuse of a moral and practical humanitarianism neglects how humanitarian aid in practice was embedded in broader state building processes. This paper posits instead that much insecurity for humanitarian actors is a symptom of the blurring of international and local forms of power, and this mediates the development of a humanitarian protectorate.