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Solidarity day with Detained and Missing Staff Members

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Ever since the United Nations came into being, scores of men and women have lost their lives while performing their duty.

The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, observed on every March the 25th, marks the abduction of a British journalist named Alec Collet, who died while carrying out his duty under the UN.

This day has become more meaningful over the years, as more UN staff members have come under attack. This day is a strategy of the UN which allows the organization to recognize the sacrifices that its staff has made, and the lives lost under numerous humanitarian works carried out by UN bodies.

Adoption of Resolution 

The resolution to guard the UN’s employees was first adopted in 1993 by the Security Council and subsequently, a Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel was established on the 9th of December 1994, to safeguard its personnel.

The importance of the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, is evident with birth of the UN, where hundreds of men and women have laid down their lives while on duty. This service is concentrated on the peacekeeping missions of the organization which includes travel to high risk nations.

The 1990’s saw a wave of attacks on the staff members of the UN. This was due to the surge in the demand for more UN peacekeeping operations. There were more employees who lost their lives during this time, than in the previous four decades put together.

This led to a call for a measure to protect UN members. This day is marked as a day to “mobilize action”, demand justice and guaranteeing UN’s allegiance to protecting its employees and troops, along with its peers in the media and the non governmental sector.

Statement from Secretary General UN

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has commended the bravery and commitment of the UN staff members working in conflict and disaster prone areas around the globe.

In his message on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, he reported that, “Today is a solemn reminder of the grave risks facing our staff members as they carry out their vital work under the United Nations flag.”

The UN Chief asserted on the fact that “these women and men represent humanity’s highest calling,” as they provide assistance and aid to people in need.

Moreover, they derive from different parts of the world, but stand as one when it comes to the shared dedication to the noble causes of peacekeeping, delivering aid and support and maintaining international law and human rights in countries and regions heavily influenced by disaster and conflict.

The UN Secretary General went onto report that, “They also face enormous and unacceptable risks including violence, detention and abduction. Since 2022, 381 UN personnel have been detained including 7 in January and February of this year. In total, 27 UN personnel are still in detention.”

Also Read: International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People

He also affirmed that, the members who were detained or abducted are still in the minds and hearts of the people, reporting that, “I will not relent in calling for their release and safe return.”

He also called upon every country to implement the 1994 Convention on the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel, and the 2005 Optional Protocol to the Convention, for the detained and abducted.

Antonio Guterres ended his message by reporting that, it’s important to honor the bravery and commitment of humanitarians around the globe, promising to protect and assist them as, “they help build a more peaceful, humane world for us all.”

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