UN to observe day of solidarity with detained, missing staff members

24 March 2003

United Nations staff members worldwide are set to honour their colleagues who have been detained, abducted or who have gone missing while in the service of the Organization.

There are at least 39 staff members of the UN family of organizations currently missing or "disappeared" - possibly under arrest or being held in detention. To focus global attention on their plight, the Eighteenth Annual International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff members will be observed tomorrow.

The Day marks the armed abduction of Alec Collett near Beirut Airport in1985 while on assignment for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The fate of Mr. Collett, a former journalist and Director of the UN Information Centre in Ghana, has never been determined.

This year, a lapel pin intended to highlight the importance of staff security and safety will be distributed. Mrs. Elaine Collett will present Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette with the first pin during a brief ceremony at UN Headquarters.


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