5 January 2006 Fatal attacks against United Nations civilian and military personnel stationed around the globe more than doubled last year compared to 2004 as 32 people were killed in incidents that ranged from bombings in Kosovo to ambushes by gunfire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the world body's Staff Union said today.
The UN employees that died from malicious attacks last year comprised nine civilians, two policemen, one security guard and 20 peacekeepers, it said. That number was up from at least 15 United Nations employees – seven peacekeepers and eight civilians – killed in 2004.
“These incidents once again serve as a tragic reminder of the innumerable risks undertaken daily by United Nations staff across the globe,” said Guy Candusso, First Vice-President of the Staff Union. “These were only the most visible attacks against United Nations personnel working in many dangerous and hostile environments around the world.”
Rosemarie Waters, the Staff Union President, called on Member States to prosecute the perpetrators of the attacks. “This demonstrates the need to end the current situation of impunity, with too few perpetrators brought before the law,” she said.
Last year, one of the most treacherous places for the UN was DRC, where 13 staffers were killed. It was also the site of one of the bloodiest attacks that produced the largest number of fatalities among the world body's personnel when unidentified militia members ambushed and murdered nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the country's eastern Ituri district in late February of last year. The blue helmets, who had been trying to protect a camp for internally displaced persons from harassment by local militias, lost their lives in the worst-ever attack against the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
Four other peacekeepers died throughout the year in separate attacks in the troubled African nation, including the last fatality of the year - which occurred when a MONUC peacekeeper from India was killed on Christmas Day.
Haiti turned out to be another hazardous locale for UN personnel as six people met violent deaths. Two peacekeepers working with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) were killed on 20 March 2005 in two separate incidents while the year came to a close when the driver of a vehicle carrying two UN policemen died after being shot by unidentified gunmen.
Three days later, a MINUSTAH peacekeeper died after being shot in the head as his armoured vehicle was attacked in the Cité Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, one of Haiti's most dangerous areas.
Civilians also became victims of violence; the first fatality of the year occurred when a staff member of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) died of gunshot wounds in Nairobi on 4 January.
Six days later, a staff member of the African Regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) died as a result of a knife attack in her car in Harare, Zimbabwe, It was the first murder of a UN staff member in that country.
Later that month, a Nigerian police offer who served with the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was killed in a bomb explosion as he drove to his work at the Pritzen Regional Police Headquarters in Kosovo.
The incidents were gathered by the Staff Council Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service, which is part of the Staff Union.