The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is annually observed across the globe on 25th March to recognise the dangers encountered by the UN staff members as they carry out their work for the UN.
The day marks the anniversary of the abduction of British journalist Alec Collett, who worked for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East(UNRWA).
- In 1985, He was abducted by an armed gunman of Abu Nidal Organization in Lebanon. He was abducted while working in Beirut for the UNRWA.
- Collet was murdered a year later and later in 2009, his body was found in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
Purpose of the Day:
The day is annually observed to mobilize action, demand justice and strengthen our resolve to protect UN staff and peacekeepers, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the press.
Efforts to Protect UN Staff:
i.In September 1993, The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted the 1st resolution on staff security S/RES/868(1993).
ii.Subsequently, complex negotiations took place during the 6th (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly on an international legal convention to protect UN personnel.
iii.Following the negotiations, the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, was adopted by the UN General Assembly(UNGA) on December 9 1994.
Threats faced by UN Staff:
i.Since the establishment of the UN in 1945, hundreds of men and women working for the UN have lost their lives in the line of duty.
ii.During the 1990s the number of lives lost during peacekeeping missions increased drastically compared to the previous 4 decades combined.
iii.Since 2021, around 239 UN personnel have been detained and 21 of them were detained in 2023. A total of 28 personnel are still in detention.