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Commémoration au siège de l'ONU de la journée de solidarité avec les fonctionnaires détenus ou portés disparus - Méssage du Secrétaire général - Communiqué de presse (25 mars 2008) Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
25 March 2008

Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


Union Urges Member States to Better Safeguard Staff Carrying Out Mission

As United Nations staff mark today the twenty-third International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, at least 40 staff members are under arrest, detained or missing around the world.

“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 United Nations Staff Union’s Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service.  “Only 82 Member States, or 43 per cent, have ratified the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, and only 11 have ratified its Optional Protocol, which expands protection of humanitarian workers.  The Protocol, adopted in 2005, is not yet in force for lack of ratifications.  Member States and the United Nations must do more to safeguard staff carrying out their mission.”

The International Day recalls the abduction, in 1985, near Beirut Airport, of Alec Collett, a former United Nations Information Centre Director and journalist, while on assignment for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  Following his abduction, the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) made Mr. Collett their Honorary President, a title he has retained ever since.

The latest report of the Secretary-General on safety and security of humanitarian personnel (document A/62/324 of 7 September 2007), which covers the period between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2007, notes 273 reported cases of arrests and detention of humanitarian and United Nations staff by State and non-State actors.

Locally recruited humanitarian and United Nations personnel remained “particularly vulnerable” and accounted for the majority of arrests, detentions or harassments, the report says.

There were at least 216 arrests and detentions by States, the report says, especially in the Sudan (66), Democratic Republic of the Congo (63), Sri Lanka (29), Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (15), Somalia (8) and Eritrea (5).  Arrests and detentions also took place in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Georgia, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Timor-Leste, Zimbabwe, Albania, Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan and Zambia.

During the same period, there were at least 57 arrests and detentions by non-State actors such as militias and other groups, particularly in Haiti (14), Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (13), Sudan (6), Iraq (5) and Somalia.  Cases also occurred in Liberia, Peru, Sri Lanka, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

At least six staff members were missing -- in Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sri Lanka.

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For information media • not an official record

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