For information only - not an official document

24 March 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

Message on International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff

25 March 2016

VIENNA, 25 March (UN Information Service) - Last month, we received the tragic confirmation of the killing of our colleague Amer al-Kaissy in Iraq some nine months after he had been abducted. I repeat my condemnation of this despicable murder and my call on the Iraqi authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

On this International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff, I urge intensified efforts to bring all perpetrators of such heinous crimes to justice, and to end impunity.

Last year, six United Nations personnel were abducted and held hostage by non-State actors before being released. Twenty United Nations civilian personnel remain in detention. Five personnel are held by Member States without any reasons given for the arrests.

This unacceptable silence jeopardizes the individuals concerned while undermining the larger mission of the United Nations. Personnel, especially those deployed under dangerous conditions, deserve full protection and rights. Some are local staff striving to advance progress in their own countries. Others are far from their respective homes and families. All represent the best of the United Nations.

I call on all parties to respect the rights, privileges and immunities of United Nations personnel.  I also remind national authorities of their responsibility for protecting all UN personnel and preventing violations against them.

All States must also support the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel as well as the 2005 Optional Protocol to the Convention, which extends legal protection to other humanitarian workers.

Among the many who were affected by the death of Mr. al-Kaissy, one friend wrote in tribute a pledge to carry on his vital work. This moving response testifies to the tenacity and commitment of United Nations staff, who deserve full protection as they strive to fulfil our mission to foster development, peace and human rights around the world.

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