24 September 2001


NEW YORK, 23 October (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Staff Union is deeply concerned over the never-ending attacks against United Nations personnel. These have included, most recently, the shooting down of a helicopter in Georgia which killed nine staff of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG); the harassing and beating in Afghanistan of local staff working for United Nations humanitarian agencies; and the burning down of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) office in Quetta, Pakistan. The killing of four Afghans working with the United Nations-supported Mine Action Programme in Kabul is also a source of concern.

United Nations staff members have once again paid with their lives while serving in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in some of the world's most volatile areas. United Nations staff working in such hazardous places deserve better protection. The Staff Union strongly appeals to governments and all other parties to take all possible steps to protect United Nations staff serving in these areas, and to recognize the humanitarian character of their mission.

The General Assembly's Sixth Committee is currently discussing ways to increase protection under the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel. The Staff Union is heartened by such discussion and appeals to Member States to do their utmost to strengthen the legal protection regime. The new cost-sharing arrangement for security among United Nations agencies and bodies is also encouraging.

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