27 July 2006

United Nations Staff Council Protests Attacks on Lebanon Mission, Calls for Full Investigation of Events

NEW YORK, 26 July (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Staff Council's Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service said today that the increased attacks directed against United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) personnel, which led to the death of four United Nations military observers yesterday, are unacceptable.  The Committee strongly protests these actions and their tragic consequences.

The Committee calls on the Secretary-General to suspend UNIFIL operations and pull back its personnel from hazardous positions, until such time as the security situation improves.

The Committee also calls on the Secretary-General to launch an immediate and full investigation of the incident that resulted in the death of the observers.

The Committee calls upon all parties, including the Israeli authorities, to respect and protect all United Nations and other aid workers operating in the area in accordance with international law.

Since the outbreak of hostilities, says the mission, one UNIFIL international staff member and his wife were also killed, and four Ghanaian soldiers, one Indian soldier and one military observer were wounded as a result of firing.

This incident once again serves as a tragic reminder of the innumerable risks undertaken daily by United Nations personnel across the globe.  The Committee, on behalf of all its members, extends its heartfelt sympathy to the families and colleagues of the victims.

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