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International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members

March 25

Protecting UN staff

Since the founding of the United Nations in 1945, hundreds of brave men and women have lost their lives in its service. During the 1990s, the growing number and scale of UN peacekeeping missions put many more at risk. More lives were lost during the 1990s than in the previous four decades combined.

At that time, an awareness began to develop among Member States and staff, that the more active the UN became in the future, the more it was going to be targeted.

The first resolution on staff security was adopted by the UN Security Council in September 1993.

Complex negotiations subsequently took place in the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly on an international legal convention to protect UN personnel.

The result of those negotiations was the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1994.

Origin

The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 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 of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members has taken on even greater importance in recent years, as attacks against the United Nations intensify.  This is a day to mobilize action, demand justice and strengthen our resolve to protect UN staff and peacekeepers, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the press.

Purpose

This is a day to mobilize action, demand justice and strengthen our resolve to protect UN staff and peacekeepers, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the press.

Details

Date:
March 25