|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Welcomes Entry into Force of Optional Protocol to Convention
on Safety and Security of United Nations and Associated Personnel
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General welcomes the deposit of the twenty-second instrument adhering to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel (“Optional Protocol”). The Optional Protocol, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 8 December 2005, will enter into force on 19 August 2010.
The Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel (“the Convention”) is the cornerstone of the legal regime affording protection to United Nations and associated personnel operating in hostile and volatile environments. The scope of the Convention covers United Nations operations where such operations are for the purpose of maintaining or restoring international peace and security, or where the Security Council or the General Assembly has declared that an exceptional risk exists to the safety of the personnel participating in the operation. While the Convention is automatically applicable to peacekeeping operations, its applicability to humanitarian, development and other United Nations operations depends on a “declaration of exceptional risk”. In the practice of United Nations operations, however, no such declaration has ever been made, nor are there any generally agreed criteria for determining the existence of an exceptional risk.
The Optional Protocol corrects this flaw by dispensing with the need for a declaration and expanding the legal protection to all other United Nations operations delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance in peacebuilding and to those delivering emergency humanitarian assistance. States Parties are able to opt out of the Optional Protocol for operations conducted for the sole purpose of responding to a natural disaster.
The Secretary-General calls upon all States, who have not done so, to ratify or accede to the Convention and its Optional Protocol without delay.
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