UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday said that the disturbing and widespread violence and turmoil of the past year took a toll on UN and associated personnel, with 33 UN and associated personnel detained by state authorities in 15 countries.
In a message on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, Ban said that one staff member is missing and two contractors remain in the custody of abductors.
The secretary-general called on member states to immediately release all staff members and associated personnel who are being unlawfully detained.
Also in his message, Ban appealed to those non-state actors that are holding staff members to immediately release them.
The secretary-general said that he was especially concerned about the situations in South Sudan and Syria.
Also on Wednesday, the UN Staff Union and its Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service called on state authorities and armed groups for the immediate release of UN personnel who are unlawfully arrested and detained.
The United Nations promotes the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members to encourage governments to do more in their power to protect UN personnel in their jobs.
The International Day is marked each year on the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, a former journalist who was working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) when he was abducted by armed gunman in 1985. His body was finally found in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 2009.
The International Day has taken on even greater importance in recent years, as attacks against the United Nations intensify. Enditem