Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, observed today:
Day in and day out, deed by deed, United Nations personnel work unwaveringly to help the most vulnerable, protect the planet and build a better future for all. Sadly, fulfilling this vital mission often entails great perils.
In 2018, 16 United Nations staff members were kidnapped or abducted, and one thus far in 2019. Thankfully, all have been released. As of today, there are 21 United Nations staff members under arrest or in detention — five of whom are being held without any known charges. We will continue to do everything within our means to secure our colleagues’ release.
On this International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, I call on all countries to support the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel as well as its 2005 Optional Protocol. To date, only 95 countries are party to the Convention and only 33 to the Optional Protocol.
Whether in their home countries or abroad, United Nations staff members have an admirable commitment to service. Their safety must be our priority. On this International Day of Solidarity, I call on the Member States and the international community to strengthen resolve to give them the protection they need to continue their work for peace and prosperity for all.