UNITED NATIONS. ALARMED BY GROWING NUMBER OF UN PERSONNEL KILLED, UN STAFF COUNCIL CALLS FOR A CEASE OF DEPLOYMENTS UNTIL EFFECTIVE MEASURES ARE TAKEN

 

15 MAY 2011

ALARMED BY GROWING NUMBER OF UN PERSONNEL KILLED, UN STAFF COUNCIL CALLS FOR A CEASE OF DEPLOYMENTS UNTIL EFFECTIVE MEASURES ARE TAKEN

United Nations staff around the world, particularly in areas of conflict or occupation, have come under increasing risk and danger of serious attack. Many have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Alarmed by the number of UN personnel killed in the service of the Organization under the current Administration, the Staff Council of the United Nations Staff Union passed resolution No. 43/36 entitled "Responsibility for the Safety and Security of United Nations Personnel" (see below).

Expressing its dismay at the Secretary-General's apparent lack of interest in establishing accountability for the numerous deadly incidents involving UN staff and for failing to respond to the concerns of staff regarding safety and security, the Staff Council has decided to release the above-mentioned resolution to the press.

The resolution calls upon the Government of Afghanistan to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of UN staff in Mazar-i-Sharif, and it also calls upon the UN to conduct a formal inquiry into recent security lapses. It further stresses the responsibility of the host government for the safety and protection of UN staff.

The tragedy that occurred at the UN mission in Afghanistan on 1 April 2011 is a recent event in a long list of attacks on UN personnel and facilities. In 2009, an attack at a UN guest house in Kabul cost five staff their lives. On 11 December 2007, 17 UN staff lost their lives in a terrorist attack on the United Nations premises in Algiers.

In addition, UN staff face innumerable risks on a daily basis: on 4 April 2011, 32 colleagues died in an airplane crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and only one month later, on 7 May 2011, four staff members of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and two military pilots were killed in another aircraft accident in Bolivia.

With this resolution, the Council holds the Secretary-General accountable for certifying that the necessary safety and security arrangements are in place when UN staff members are deployed to hostile environments, as called for under the UN Staff Regulations. It further calls on the Secretary-General not to deploy UN staff unless national and local authorities in the host country take measures to comply with established levels of security.

The Council has further cause for alarm, as the anticipated drastic across-the-board budget cuts could lead to severely weakened safety and security arrangements for the protection of UN staff, and could heighten the risks faced by colleagues around the world in their day-to-day work for the Organization.