UNESCAP News Services
Date: 25 March 2011
Press Release No:L/11/2011
Message on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members
New York, 25 March 2011
According to the Department of Safety and Security, at least 28 United Nations civilian personnel were detained or arrested in 2010 in cases that were considered job-related. Another 12 police and civilians were kidnapped. A colleague in Darfur was held for nearly three months.
I commend the 89 Member States that have ratified the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, the cornerstone of the legal regime affording protection to staff operating in hostile and volatile environments.
I also welcome last year’s entry into force of the 2005 Optional Protocol to the Convention, which corrects a flaw in the Convention by expanding the legal protection beyond peacekeeping operations to all other UN operations delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance in peacebuilding and to those delivering emergency humanitarian assistance. Still, the vast majority of UN Member States – 169 are still not part of this regime.
I call on all States that have not done so to ratify or accede to the Convention and its Protocol without delay.
I thank the UN Staff Council Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service for continuing to raise public awareness, seek justice for perpetrators, and strengthen Government commitment to safety for UN and associated personnel.
This International Day marks the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, a former journalist who was working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Near East when he was abducted by armed gunmen in 1985. With his remains having been found and returned to his family in 2009, this Day is also a moment to honour his memory.
UN and associated personnel, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the press, undertake vital, life-saving missions for people in crisis and need throughout the world. I call on all partners to do their utmost so they can do so in the safest environment possible.
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Headquartered in Bangkok, United Nations ESCAP is the largest of the UN's five Regional Commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP works to promote sustainable and inclusive economic and social progress. More information on ESCAP is available at www.unescap.org