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1. In its resolution 56/217 of 19 February 2002, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to it at its fifty-seventh session a comprehensive, updated report on the safety and security situation of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel and on the implementation of the resolution, including progress made by the Secretary-General in pursuing accountability and assessing responsibility for all individual security incidents that involve United Nations and associated personnel at all levels throughout the United Nations system, as well as an account of the measures taken by Governments and the United Nations to prevent and respond to such incidents.
2. This report has been prepared in consultation with the members of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) to cover the period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002.
II. Threats against United Nations personnel
3. Over the past decade threats against the safety and security of United Nations personnel have escalated at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, United Nations personnel are operating in more dangerous environments and in greater concentrations than ever before. The challenging and, far too often, hazardous environment in which United Nations personnel are compelled to operate has taken its toll. Since 1 January 1992, 214 civilian United Nations staff members have lost their lives through malicious acts. Only 22 perpetrators of attacks on United Nations staff have been brought to justice, a mere 7 per cent of those responsible. During the current reporting period, 7 staff members made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of the goals of the United Nations system in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Kosovo, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Another three lost their lives in helicopter accidents in Georgia and Sierra Leone (see annex I). In addition, between 1 January 1994 and 30 May 2002, there have been 70 instances of hostage-taking or kidnapping involving 258 United Nations personnel; during the reporting period four of those personnel were taken hostage in two separate incidents period in Somalia and Guyana. At present 39 personnel employed by the organizations of the United Nations system remain in detention at various locations throughout the world (see annex II). Personnel of the United Nations continue to experience an unprecedented number of incidents of rape and sexual assault, armed robbery, attacks on humanitarian convoys and operations and harassment.
4. Many of the instances of threats against United Nations personnel occurred in the West Bank and Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) indicates that during the reporting period there was an increase in the number of violent incidents directed against United Nations and humanitarian personnel. In a number of instances UNRWA personnel were verbally abused, threatened, physically assaulted and shot at. What is of particular concern is that ambulances and medical personnel have not been exempt from attack. On a number of occasions, UNRWA ambulances were attacked, resulting in death and injury to personnel.
III. Arrest, detention and other restrictions
8. In accordance with prior practice, the present report provides information regarding cases of arrest and detention and cases of staff members who are missing or whose whereabouts remain unknown, some for almost 20 years. Based on information provided by the United Nations agencies, programmes and funds, a consolidated list of staff members under arrest and detention or missing and with respect to whom the United Nations and the specialized agencies and related organizations have been unable to exercise fully their right to protection is set out in annex II.
9. According to information provided by UNRWA, in the Gaza Strip a total of 15 staff members were arrested and detained by the Palestinian Authority during the reporting period. With the exception of one staff member who hanged himself while in custody, all others were eventually released. The Israeli authorities detained only one staff member and he was released without charge. In the West Bank, 74 arrests by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were recorded during the reporting period; the Palestinian authorities detained 19 staff members; four staff members were arrested in Jordan and three in Lebanon. All were subsequently released. As at 30 June 2002, 19 staff members remained in detention, of whom 18 were detained by the Israeli authorities and one by the Palestinian authorities. Regrettably, UNRWA was not always provided with adequate or timely information by the relevant authorities on the reasons for the arrest or detention of its staff members. In the absence of such information, it was not possible to determine whether there were circumstances that would warrant UNRWA asserting its right to functional immunity.
10. Throughout the reporting period, UNRWA staff experienced considerable difficulties and delays due to closures. UNRWA vehicles within Gaza and the West Bank were stopped at IDF checkpoints and roadblocks, often for extended periods of time. While passing through checkpoints, UNRWA staff were abused and even physically assaulted. There was also a significant increase in the incursions by both IDF and the Palestinian Authority into UNRWA installations, resulting in substantial damage.
** This report was delayed because of difficulties in obtaining accurate data regarding the status of detained staff members from United Nations agencies, programmes and funds.
Consolidated list of staff members under arrest and detention or missing and
with respect to whom the United Nations and the specialized agencies
and related organizations have been unable to exercise fully
their right to protection, as at 30 June 2002
9 April 2002.
16 April 2002.