UN staff feel increasingly vulnerable, Deputy Secretary-General tells Summit
United Nations staff are faced with an increasing feeling of vulnerability, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the Annual Summit on Staff Security held at UN headquarters this morning.
"Such eminently understandable anxieties come on top of the already formidable risks that UN staff face in carrying out their mission in an era when civilians are targeted for violence," the Deputy Secretary-General explained, "and when parties to armed conflict show little respect for international law or for relief workers and others trying to help the victims."
The Deputy Secretary-General also drew attention to the plight of UN staff recruited locally, who often face additional risk through their association with the UN but may lack the level of protection given to internationally recruited staff.
She called on Member States to fulfil their responsibilities for staff security by providing the resources needed to improve protection, by arresting and prosecuting anyone who attacks UN or associated personnel, and by signing and ratifying the relevant legal instruments.
"The Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel has entered into force, but only 62 States - less than one third of the UN membership - are party to it," she noted.
According to the Office of the UN Security Coordinator, 214 UN system staff from 69 countries - 46 international and 168 local - have died in over 45 different locations around the world since January 1992. Arrests have been made in only 15 of these cases. In addition, 265 staffers were taken hostage in 69 separate incidents over the same period. Four staff have been killed this year while two were taken hostage.
At the summit, senior UN staff, experts and Member States supported the Deputy Secretary-General's call for increased measures to improve the security of UN personnel.