BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
H. E. MR. JULIAN R HUNTE ON
THE OCCASION OF THE 19TH ANNUAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH DETAINED
AND MISSING PERSONS
Mr. Kofi Annan
Tony Jenkins, President of the United Nations Correspondents
Elaine Collett, Wife of Mr. Alec Collett
Rosemarie Waters, President of the United Nations Staff
of the United Nations Correspondents Association
most of us, it is inconceivable that a family member could
leave home and never return, fate unknown. The pictures
we see of death and destruction seem so far away, the name
of that lone person abducted, shot or killed is another
story on the news.
there are incidences that can and do happen to the dedicated
and brave women and men in the service of the United Nations.
It has been 19 years since Alec Collett was abducted while
on assignment for the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East. He was never seen nor heard of
again. Last year alone 241 civilian staff of the United
Nations lost their lives in Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan,
Iraq and elsewhere.
are among the many humanitarian workers or other personnel
who today and every day in every part of the world play
an essential role in upholding the principles and purposes
of the United Nations Charter in adverse and dangerous conditions.
chosen today especially, to recognize and celebrate the
memory and work of our colleagues, who have been arrested,
detained, abducted or have disappeared. We are thankful
to them today as we are every day for their contributions
and must do better to ensure their safety and to bring to
justice those who target them. We have begun processes to
address safety concerns and must continue our efforts. Let
us also not forget that an intentional attack on humanitarian
or peacekeeping personnel is defined as a war crime under
the statute of the International Criminal Court.
of the General Assembly, I am deeply committed to improving
the security of UN staff and associated personnel. I repeat
today my plea to those Member States who have not ratified
the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and
Associated Personnel to do so without delay.
to recognize the Committee on the Security and Independence
of the International Civil Service, and the United Nations
Staff Union, for organizing this event, and for their continuing
efforts to highlight the importance of the safety of United
Nations staff members and humanitarian workers.
honoured to have been invited to speak on this occasion.