12 Oct

Terrorism imperils UN staff Ban Kimoon says on Day of Solidarity

The threats of violence, hostility and crime UN staff have long faced are now compounded by international terrorism, Mr. Ban said in a message in observance of the 23rd International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members. “At a time when the UN is needed to do more in a rising number of high-risk locations, the dangers are ever greater,” he observed. “We must meet this challenge and do much more to protect our staff.” Last December, 17 staff members perished in a terror attack on UN offices in Algiers, Algeria. The Secretary-General appointed the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises, led by veteran diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, to assess the safety and security of UN staff worldwide. “Our work will not end with the conclusion of the panel’s report; it will intensify,” he vowed. Mr. Ban paid tribute to Alec Collet, who was forcibly abducted from his car by terrorists 23 years ago today. He was working for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and his case remains unresolved today. The Secretary-General said he would continue urging Member States to “honour their responsibility” to ensure the safety of UN staff working in their countries and that host countries of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations meet their obligations. “Increasingly, some host countries obstruct implementation of UN mandates, including by resisting security imperatives and other measures – all under the cover of ‘host country consent’ but in direct contravention of the Status of Forces Agreement,” he said. “Some raise the security risk for our staff through anti-UN polemics, or even abuse of UN personnel.” Additionally, Mr. Ban said that he looks to Member States to bring those who have committed crimes against the UN to justice. Currently, 82 countries are Party to the Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel and a further 43 have signed the pact, but he appealed to the remaining nations to sign on to it. The UN Staff Union also underscored the need for Member States to protect the world body’s staff through adhering to international agreements. “This disregard for the rights of United Nations personnel carrying out their duties goes hand in hand with many Member States’ lack of interest in treaties seeking to protect staff rights,” said the Union’s Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service. “Member States and the United Nations must do more to safeguard staff carrying out their mission,” it added. There were 273 cases of arrests and detentions of humanitarian and UN staff by State and non-State actors between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2007, according to the latest report of the Secretary-General on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel. At least six staff members were missing during that period in Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sri Lanka. 25 March 2008With 40 United Nations staff members under arrest, detained or missing worldwide, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the heightened risk to the world body posed by global terrorism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *