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1. In its resolution 59/211 of 20 December 2004, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to it at its sixtieth session a comprehensive and updated report on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel and on the implementation of the resolution. The resolution requested in particular an update on the measures taken to ensure full respect for the human rights, privileges and immunities of United Nations and other personnel contributing to the fulfilment of the United Nations mandate.
2. The present report covers the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 and has been prepared in consultation with the members of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).
3. A full account of the establishment of the Department of Safety and Security is detailed in the report of the Secretary-General on a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations (A/59/365 and Corr.1).
II. Threats against United Nations personnel
4. Throughout the reporting period, United Nations personnel deployed globally in a broad range of field operations continued to be subjected to threats such as hostage-taking, physical assault, robbery, theft, harassment and detention. In Afghanistan, for example, United Nations staff continued to be targets of abduction, assassination or improvised explosive devices. A protracted hostage situation involving United Nations staff in Kabul was successfully resolved during the months of October and November 2004. Over the past year, hundreds of United Nations staff and thousands of international and locally employed relief workers of non-governmental organizations faced extreme insecurity, including detention, hostage-taking, murder and attacks on convoys in responding to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.
5. Since 1992, 229 United Nations civilian staff members have been killed as result of malicious acts. This figure does not include the uniformed peacekeepers or the 26 civilian staff members who have lost their lives as result of aircraft accidents due to technical problems. During the reporting period, malicious acts claimed the lives of 11 civilian staff members, 4 of them occurring in Africa, 3 in the Middle East, 3 in Asia and 1 in Europe. This compares to 22 deaths in the previous reporting period, most of which resulted from the suicide bomb attack of 19 August 2003 on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. A consolidated list of staff members who have lost their lives as result of malicious acts during the reporting period, as well as an indication of the status of legal proceedings undertaken by the relevant Member State, is provided in annex I below.
6. The most significant threats to the security of United Nations staff and operations continue to be physical attacks, threats, robbery and theft. There were 3 incidents of hostage-taking and 17 kidnappings, as well as 4 cases of rape and 6 of sexual assault against personnel of the United Nations recorded during the reporting period. A total of 119 incidents of armed robbery involving significant United Nations assets were reported as well as 9 attacks, resulting in the death or injury of United Nations personnel, on humanitarian convoys and operations, compared with 7 such incidents during the previous reporting period.
7. There were 123 incidents of harassment of humanitarian convoys during the current reporting period, 220 incidents in which checkpoints or roadblocks prohibited access to United Nations personnel and 108 incidents of harassment, abuse or physical assault of United Nations personnel occurring at checkpoints or roadblocks and resulting in significant delays. These figures do not include incidents in the occupied Palestinian territories, where United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East area staff continually faced obstruction at checkpoints. Aside from incidents involving humanitarian convoys, there were 160 incidents of threatening verbal abuse, 407 incidents of violence such as physical assaults and gunfire and 88 terrorist-related threats against United Nations personnel and field installations. In addition, there were 121 incursions or attempted incursions into United Nations installations and 333 incidents of theft. The high number of these types of security incidents undermines the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations, degrades the personal safety and well-being of staff and compromises the security of field installations.
8. While there is no central repository of information on the security threats and incidents incurred by international organizations, non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations, the Department of Safety and Security has collected first-hand and secondary accounts of numerous critical security incidents involving their staff. During the reporting period, the Department received information detailing the deaths of 65 international and national staff of international, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations as result of malicious acts. A total of 48 such incidents occurred in Afghanistan alone, 11 in Darfur and environs in the Sudan, 3 in Somalia, 2 in Iraq and 1 in Niger. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of staff who have lost their lives, but only those which the Department can corroborate. It is widely assumed that fatalities among the national staff of such organizations are much higher than the figures indicate, however reliable data are not available. Five staff of non-governmental organizations were detained in the occupied Palestinian territories during the reporting period; however, there is no information on their status.
9. In preparing the present report, incidents affecting the safety and security of United Nations staff and operations have been itemized by geographic region. The greatest number of hostage-takings and kidnappings occurred in the Latin American and Caribbean region, where 14 incidents were reported: 8 in Haiti, 5 in Colombia and 1 in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. A total of 5 of the 10 incidents of rape and sexual assault took place in Africa: 4 in Nigeria and 1 in Chad. The majority of attacks on humanitarian convoys and operations resulting in injury to United Nations personnel also took place in Africa, where six incidents were recorded: three in Somalia, two in Chad and one in the Sudan. Violent incidents directed against United Nations personnel were most prevalent in various States in Africa, where 241 incidents were recorded, along with 237 incidents of theft.
10. As stated in previous reports, there are many factors which contribute to the erosion of staff security. The environments in which United Nations personnel are compelled to operate are often characterized by high rates of crime and unemployment, socio-economic instability and political unrest. Thus, in addition to being targeted because of their affiliation with the Organization, United Nations personnel face the same rising levels of street crime, home invasion and carjacking as the general public. The status of United Nations staff members as representatives of the international community in general, as well as of the United Nations in particular, also contributes to the risk of targeting by a wide range of disaffected groups.
III. Arrest, detention and other restrictions
11. The number of United Nations personnel arrested, under detention or missing and with respect to whom the United Nations has been unable to exercise its right to protection has increased from 20 cases last year to 23: 7 United Nations staff members remain in detention in Eritrea; 4 are under arrest in Afghanistan; 2 are detained in Ethiopia and another 2 in Kosovo; and 1 staff member is detained in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mozambique, the Russian Federation, the Sudan and Zimbabwe. A national staff member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, unaccounted for in Sri Lanka since the tsunami in December 2004, is the only person listed as missing during the reporting period. A list of affected staff members is provided in annex II.
IV. Respect for human rights and the privileges and immunities of United Nations and other personnel
12. The United Nations security management system is based on the fundamental principle that the primary responsibility for the security and protection of staff members, their dependants and property and the Organization’s property rests with the host Government. In that connection, the General Assembly, in paragraph 14 of its resolution 59/211, requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full respect for the human rights, privileges and immunities of United Nations and other personnel carrying out activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation. The Secretary-General is also requested to seek the inclusion, in negotiations of headquarters and other mission agreements concerning United Nations and its associated personnel, of the applicable conditions contained in the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of Specialized Agencies and the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel. In paragraph 15 o f the same resolution, the Assembly further recommends that the Secretary-General continue to seek the inclusion of, and that host countries include, key provisions of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, including those regarding the prevention of attacks against members of the operation, the establishment of such attacks as crimes punishable by law and the prosecution or extradition of offenders in future as well as, if necessary, in existing status-of-forces, status-of-mission and host country agreements negotiated between the United Nations and those countries, bearing in mind the importance of the timely conclusion of such agreements.
13. An inventory of all existing host country agreements related to United Nations Headquarters, offices away from Headquarters, regional commissions, United Nations information centres and several other United Nations entities has been made in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs. A detailed examination of these agreements is now ongoing with a view to determining whether they adequately reflect the responsibility of the respective host Government for the safety and security of United Nations personnel. The updating and revision of those agreements may then be initiated as appropriate. However, other forms of agreement defining security arrangements, such as memorandums of understanding that would stand alongside the country agreement, are also being explored. This will be a lengthy project that will take several years to complete. The General Assembly will be provided with regular reports on the progress of this activity. The Department will continue to bring specific cases of infringement of the human rights and privileges and immunities of United Nations personnel or other persons undertaking activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation to the attention of the relevant host Government.
14. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia and Yemen continue to impose restrictions on the movement of goods and means of communication essential to United Nations operations, in contravention of the conventions listed above. Lack of communications equipment due to Government delays in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has had a deleterious effect on the delivery of United Nations programmes. The Government of Ethiopia refuses to release essential communications and security equipment for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Despite high-level interventions from the United Nations and indications from the Government of Yemen that essential equipment would be released, at present the situation remains unresolved.
V. Promoting and enhancing security consciousness
15. Measures taken at Headquarters during the reporting period to enhance the security consciousness and awareness of security procedures included continued staff security training at all levels, revised and enhanced strategies for critical incident stress management and the elaboration and implementation of a communication strategy for the Department. Training programmes devised and delivered by designated officials in the field constitute the primary conduit used by the Department to ensure that United Nations and other personnel contributing to the fulfilment of a United Nations mandate are informed about conditions under which they will operate. In this way, staff members are made aware of customs and traditions in the host country and the standards they are required to meet, including those contained in relevant domestic and international law. This country-level orientation complements the more general training in human rights and international humanitarian law provided to staff by United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations so as to enhance their security and effectiveness in accomplishing their functions.
A. Security training programme
16. The interactive computer-based training course entitled “Basic security in the field: staff safety, health, and welfare” continues to be the most prevalent and efficient means of raising security awareness among individual United Nations and humanitarian staff. To date, it is estimated that more than 60,000 staff members have completed the training course along with an equal or greater number of staff from non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. All United Nations personnel are required to complete the programme once every three years in order to maintain their security readiness status. The course, which is available on CD-ROM and on the web, will be revised to reflect new developments since its initial development in 2001. The upgrades will be available in all six official United Nations languages. A recent inter-agency security training working group (comprising the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Office of Human Resources Management, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Safety and Security) recommended that the beginning of the recertification process for the mandatory learning course, normally scheduled to begin in 2006, be postponed to 2007 owing to the updating and revision of the course package.
17. A supplementary security training course for staff serving in high-risk duty stations, entitled “Advanced security in the field”, will be available in English and French by the end of 2005 and the remaining four languages in the first half of 2006.
18. By means of presentations and discussions on the United Nations security management system, the Department of Safety and Security continued its direct support of the critical United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident coordinator training programme, whereby the resident coordinators learn the roles and responsibilities of designated officials. Designated officials, as a matter of course, also visit the Department at Headquarters for briefings and discussions prior to and during their appointments. These activities address the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Security Management Network that designated officials be provided with mandatory security training and briefings prior to their assignment. In addition, security officers from the Department provided in-country training during the reporting period to security management teams at the following 15 duty stations: Bahrain, Barbados, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Ecuador, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
19. During the reporting period, the Department also conducted seven induction training sessions (five in New York, one in Cairo and one in Cyprus) for 69 newly recruited professional security officers from the Department as well as United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. The five-day induction programme continues to include intensive one-on-one or group security training sessions on United Nations security policy, procedures and best practices provided by the Department of Safety and Security officers as well as detailed predeployment discussions between new field security officers and their New York desk officers. This programme prepares newly recruited field security coordination officers for assignment and enables them to provide more effective support to their designated official and security management team. Information on stress management, an overview of the United Nations and an introduction to the mandates of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes are now included in induction training, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Security Management Network. Gender and cultural diversity modules are being developed for incorporation into the induction training programme later in 2005.
20. In countries that do not have an assigned field security coordination officer, an international staff member, usually the UNDP deputy resident representative, is appointed as the country security focal point. As country security focal points do not currently benefit from formal training, during the reporting period the Department conducted two regional workshops with 41 participants. To increase the cost effectiveness of the workshops, which were financed from the Trust Fund for the Security of Staff Members of the United Nations System, a number of the Department’s field security coordination officers, as well as security officers from UNICEF, UNHCR, the Department of Political Affairs, WHO, OHCHR and the United Nations Office at Nairobi, attended the workshops, both to receive refresher training and to enhance coordination at the regional level.
21. As a result of the increasing rate of hostage-taking worldwide, the Department of Safety and Security conducted its fourth hostage incident management workshop in October 2004. Twenty-six field security coordination officers, agency field security officers and Department of Peacekeeping Operations field safety advisers or chief security advisers attended and successfully completed this intensive five-day programme.
22. The high level of threat and risk to the United Nations in Iraq requires special training, which is provided in Amman as a prerequisite for onward travel. During the reporting period, 545 international staff members attended this compulsory security awareness induction training. In addition, 23 field security coordination officers, agency security officers and Department of Peacekeeping Operations protection coordination officers, who coordinate and accompany all movement by international staff within Iraq, received training in the use of medical trauma kits. Experts from the FAO-WFP Medical Service in Rome carried out this training in November 2004. The Department of Safety and Security, in consultation with WFP and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, has subsequently reviewed and enhanced the trauma kit, for which revised training standards have been developed. This medical kit is available to United Nations agencies, funds and programmes through a Department of Peacekeeping Operations systems contract for purchasing and replenishment.
23. During the reporting period, the Department of Safety and Security continued to provide specific training on request and when possible to United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. Examples of this assistance include the provision of support to International Labour Organization workshops for Western Europe, Central Europe and Asia; a workshop for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Humanitarian Information Centre in London; a workshop in Turin, Italy, for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Junior Professional Officers Programme; workshops in Cairo for the UNDP regional bureau for Arab States; and a workshop for UNDP deputy resident representatives in Dakar and Nairobi.
24. Publications and academic outreach are important aspects of the Department’s training and promotional activities. The Department continues to distribute the booklet entitled “Security in the field” to United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as to other United Nations organizations. In 2004, the Department distributed 24,434 copies of the booklet in response to 106 separate requests. A new booklet that addresses recent developments in the United Nations security management system is under review and will be distributed in a user-friendly format. The Department also distributed 11,160 hostage incident cards, in all six official languages, in response to 36 requests. With respect to academic outreach, the Department is facilitating studies at Harvard University to develop a centre of excellence for security management and at New York University to establish a baseline for United Nations staff members’ perception of risk through statistical analysis.
25. The extensive collaboration between the Department of Safety and Security and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on training continued during the reporting period to include finalization of the security training modules for mission specialists and senior mission leadership. In June 2005, a joint workshop for chief security officers was conducted at the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, with the primary objective of determining and resolving issues related to the implementation of a unified security management system where peacekeeping missions and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes are present at the same duty station.
B. Critical incident stress management
26. From June 2004 to June 2005, the Critical Incident Stress Management Unit provided services to 4,387 staff worldwide, 878 of whom received direct counselling in response to critical incidents. The Department’s counsellors were deployed to five tsunami-affected countries and conducted rapid assessments, resulting in comprehensive recommendations on staff psychosocial needs related to critical incident stress and personal security. These were accepted and implemented by security management teams, and a stress management unit consisting of one international and three local counsellors was established in Indonesia to ensure long-term support for staff. The Critical Incident Stress Management Unit maintained preventive activities in more than 20 high-priority countries and conducted stress management training and counselling sessions for security management teams, field security coordination officers, peer supporters and other United Nations staff, with presentations and discussions on the United Nations security management system. The Unit also provided technical support to United Nations humanitarian and development country teams in managing cumulative stress and conflicts among United Nations staff and managers. Through those efforts, the stress management needs of some 3,490 staff were met. Training represented 61 per cent of the preventive activities, with 2,134 staff reached.
27. In addition, the Unit has provided direct assistance to country offices to build their capacity to address staff psychosocial needs more efficiently, including the establishment of critical incident stress management units or cells in Côte d’Ivoire, India and Gaza, with one local counsellor being recruited in each country or area by the security management team. Peer support training was organized in some countries in collaboration with WFP and UNHCR. Drawing on lessons learned from previous activities, the Unit also focused on the development of standard operating procedures on critical incident stress management in order to better meet its mandate. The Unit implemented methodologies to harmonize United Nations strategies for counsellor response to emergencies by presenting the standing operating procedures at the annual Inter-Agency Security Management Network meeting, by advocating the creation of the United Nations inter-agency working group on critical incident stress management and by organizing a joint meeting of Secretariat counsellors in July 2005. One of the outcomes of those activities was the establishment of a cadre of Unite d Nations Secretariat counsellors, constituting 15 experts strategically organized into Regional Critical Incident Stress Response Cells.
C. Communication strategy
28. The Department of Safety and Security has created a multidimensional strategy for communication, information-sharing and feedback, under normal circumstances as well as in times of crisis. To that end, the Department’s website was revitalized and will continue to be developed, with a special section for security professionals. A secure portal was authorized to make the website accessible to United Nations staff through the Internet. This solves the problem of providing access to the travel advisory and security clearance procedures to relevant parties outside the United Nations system extranet. A monthly newsletter, reporting on the Department’s progress and related matters, has been initiated and is being widely disseminated.
29. The Department sponsors a Security Information Group composed of the following offices and departments of the Secretariat: the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Safety and Security and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Group holds a monthly thematic meeting to exchange views and information on security. A directory of country and regional desk officers in the aforementioned departments has been developed to facilitate collaboration, liaison and communication.
VI. Conformity with operating standards
30. Significant progress has been made in refining and disseminating a standard methodology for conducting threat and risk assessments. In accordance with the new methodology, country-level minimum operating security standards are being developed in the field and endorsed by the Department in view of the particular findings of such assessments. The threat and risk assessment procedure, referred to as security risk management, has been incorporated into the five-day induction programme and includes a practical, field-oriented exercise. The Inter-Agency Security Management Network has welcomed and endorsed the security risk management process as an effective way of calibrating mitigating measures in proportion to risk and thus enabling the fulfilment of agency mandates, which often include maintaining a continued presence in or access to areas of extreme insecurity.
31. An interactive introductory training module on Security Risk Management has been incorporated into the new United Nations staff training course on CD-ROM entitled “Advanced security in the field”, which is currently in production and is scheduled for release in late 2005. Moreover, it is anticipated that standard packages and training tools for Security Risk Management will be developed in the next reporting period and promulgated at all levels.
32. The Department appreciates and fully supports the proactive approach of United Nations Headquarters, offices away from Headquarters, agencies, funds, programmes and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations missions towards implementation of and compliance with Minimum Operating Security Standards. When the standards are based on a properly conducted security risk assessment according to the new security risk management methodology, they have proven to be an effective tool to mitigate risk and thus to enable programme delivery. Linking the Minimum Operating Security Standards more closely with the security risk management model has produced a more flexible and proportional approach to establishing country-specific standards and has the added benefit of providing a more compelling presentation for the funding of security requirements.
33. All duty stations have now adopted and are reporting against a country-specific standard. Levels of compliance continue to vary, however. All designated officials and security management teams acknowledge the fundamental importance of Minimum Operating Security Standards in mitigating risks and have established implementation plans, including budget and resource allocations. The Department’s Compliance, Evaluation and Monitoring Unit, also to be established as part of the ongoing development of the Department, will provide further assistance to the field while facilitating central support for fuller implementation.
VII. Collaboration and cooperation on security measures
A. Inter-Agency Security Management Network
34. The Inter-Agency Security Management Network, a subcommittee of the High Level Committee on Management of CEB, plays a central role in imparting coherence, direction and a sense of ownership throughout the United Nations security management system. At its annual meeting, the Network established a number of committees to review critical security issues. These include the participation of non-United Nations entities in the Organization’s security management system; information technology; security risk management development; safety; lessons learned; minimum operating security standards; concepts of security operations, including reviews of security phases; critical incident stress management; and training. These are in addition to ongoing committees, such as those on aviation safety and response to mass casualties. The Network, pursuant to section XI, paragraph 14, of General Assembly resolution 59/276 and paragraph 16 of General Assembly resolution 59/211, also endorsed a revised accountability framework that will be presented to the High Level Committee on Management.
35. 35. The Inter-Agency Security Management Network, at its meeting in April 2005, again took note of the recommendations of the report of the Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of United Nations Personnel in Iraq of October 2003 pertaining to personnel tracking and accountability. In that regard, prototypes of two security information management systems — one for security clearance and personnel tracking and another for security incident reporting — have been developed and presented to the Network. Those systems, which will be accessed through secure portals, will include key security-related information, such as the Department’s travel advisory, security phases, country focal points and contact details.
36. The integrated security clearance and tracking system is a centrally hosted web application that will allow United Nations staff members to record emergency contact information as well as personal, travel and security clearance requests. Designated officials and field security coordination officers will then receive consolidated lists of travel security clearance requests for review, approval or denial. Reports on staff members’ flight schedules, hotel addresses and itineraries and other travel information will also be are available. The system will address the concerns of staff members and their families, by allowing the Department to monitor and account for the presence and location of staff wherever they may travel.
37. The security incident reporting system is a centrally hosted application designed for field security coordination officers to input security incident reports pertaining to United Nations personnel. The reporting and incident classification will be web based, standardized and streamlined, thereby supporting faster threat assessment. In additional, a peer-to-peer collaborative information sharing tool is being introduced as a standard information technology toolset for field security coordination officers and authorized security personnel. This information-sharing tool will also be the basis of a future virtual emergency operations centre, integrated with geographic information and global positioning systems.
B. Security collaboration between the United Nations and
38. The United Nations system continued to work closely with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations on security management throughout the reporting period. At the Headquarters level, the Department of Safety and Security has established a close working relationship with the NGO consortium InterAction (the only such consortium with a dedicated Security Coordinator) to share information and coordinate efforts to ensure staff security. The Department is seeking to expand such contacts to include representatives of all the major NGO consortiums in the form of a monthly teleconference.
39. The Department worked closely with an Inter-Agency Standing Committee task force on security collaboration between the United Nations and NGOs formed as a result of the high-level humanitarian forum held by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in Geneva on 31 March 2004. The aim of the task force was to assess the implementation of a series of recommendations designed to further such collaboration emanating from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in 2001. The task force found that the recommendations were still relevant, but that they required a relaunching and a concerted effort from all parties to be fully effective. The Department supports the findings of the task force and will work closely with all concerned to ensure the implementation of its recommendations.
40. The Sudan is a dynamic forum for collaboration between the United Nations security management system and international NGOs. During the reporting period, the InterAction alliance of humanitarian NGOs worked with the Department on an NGO security mechanism for the Sudan to facilitate passage to the United Nations of information on security risks or incidents of mutual concern. Similar initiatives are under way or are contemplated by the NGO communities, with the full support of the Department, in other crisis areas, such as Afghanistan, the Balochistan region of Pakistan, the Banda Aceh region in Indonesia, Iraq and Somalia.
VIII. Observations and recommendations
41. Although the United Nations has not suffered another catastrophic attack such as that which took place in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, the past year has again been one of significant threats and risk. In Afghanistan, United Nations election activities were deliberately targeted throughout the lead-up to the October 2004 elections, and are again at risk. Staff members in Iraq continue to be subject to the unrelenting hostility of armed groups inimically opposed to their work and must therefore live and work under the onerous constraints and hardships of an extremely rigorous security regime. While levels of organized violence have recently abated, banditry continues to plague humanitarian activities in Darfur, Sudan. The security climate in Lebanon, where the United Nations has been presented with new and extremely delicate tasks, is fragile. Burglaries, robberies, harassment at checkpoints and the threat of being assaulted or taken hostage are prevalent in many areas where the presence of the United Nations has long been and remains indispensable. Recent events of international terrorism, while sparing United Nations facilities, presage a further widening of risks that spares no country or activity.
42. In the report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly on a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations, he referred to the need for a more professional security management system that can respond flexibly, based on continuous analysis, with stronger staffing and a capacity to give to the Organization the technical guidance required to function safely in the face of a heightened global threat. In that connection, the Secretary-General would like to express on behalf of all United Nations staff members his enormous appreciation to the General Assembly for the significant support rendered through its adoption of resolution 59/276 on 23 December 2004. The new Department of Safety and Security has embarked, in the six months since its inception, on a vigorous programme of implementation, which will be described more fully in a separate report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph 57 of resolution 59/276. This wide-ranging agenda places the fullest reliance on host Governments, with an increased emphasis on enhancing cooperation and collaboration in countries with well-developed security str uctures. For other countries in which the United Nations must do more for itself, emphasis is being placed on enhancing operational responsiveness and effectiveness, furthering the integration of United Nations security structures and activities wherever it is cost-effective and reviewing and developing security techniques and practices to ensure that they are adequate to the threat. The overarching aim of the United Nations security management system, under the leadership of the Department of Safety and Security, is to enable the safe delivery by the Secretariat, as well as by United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, of mandated activities in the field.
43. There continues to be deep concern about the ongoing difficulties encountered in a few countries in obtaining permission to import communications equipment. As this remains a serious concern for the health and safety of staff members, all Member States that have imposed such restrictions are urged to lift them immediately.
44. There remain long-standing cases of unwillingness by some host Governments to provide timely information in the event of the arrest or detention of locally recruited United Nations personnel, and very few countries have investigated fully attacks or other threats against international and locally recruited United Nations and associated staff members or held the perpetrators accountable under international and national law. The increase in hostage-taking and kidnappings during the reporting period is particularly disturbing, and Member States are called upon to take all necessary action to bring justice to the victims. Although much can and will be done by the United Nations to train and equip its staff to operate safely in difficult places, the culture of accountability engendered by Member States, local authorities and leaders at all levels remains the surest means of enabling United Nations staff members to safely apply their courage and commitment in meeting the needs of the world.
45. While the number of security incidents involving United Nations personnel appears to have risen, this is most likely due to the increased number of staff operating in the field and improved reporting capability within the United Nations security management system as result of enhancements undertaken by the General Assembly since 2001. Moreover, it is evident that enhanced risk assessment skills, ongoing security training and improved adherence to the minimum operating security standards have instilled greater confidence and capacity to operate safely in areas of higher risk. In this regard, the continued interest and support of Member States is greatly appreciated.
Civilian personnel who lost their lives during the reporting period
(1 July 2004-30 June 2005)