International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 2023: History, Objective, and Key Facts
International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 2023: Every year, it is observed on March 25 by the United Nation to commemorate the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, who was a journalist and died while working for the UN. Take a look at its origin, the purpose behind the observation, and more.
"Together, we must do everything we can to ensure that those who undertake lifesaving work around the world have the protection and conditions they need to fulfil their vital mission."- UN Secretary-General António Guterres
In 1945, the United Nations has been established and, since then, hundreds of brave men and women have lost their lives in its service. During the 1990s, the growing number and scale of UN peacekeeping missions put several at risk. More people died in the 1990s than in the previous four decades combined.
Therefore, at that time, awareness began to rise among the Member States and staff that the more active the UN became in the future, the more it was going to be targeted.
So, in September 1993, the first resolution on staff security was adopted by the UN Security Council.
In the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly, complex negotiations took place on an international legal convention to protect UN personnel.
And the result of those negotiations was the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel. In December 1994, it was adopted by the UN General Assembly.
International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 2023: History
The day is observed on March 25 to mark the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett. He was a former journalist who worked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In 1985, he was abducted by armed gunmen. In 2009, his body was found in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 2023: Objective
The United Nations (UN) initially marked the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members in 1993. In recent years, the day has taken on greater importance as attacks against the United Nations intensify. This day honours UN employees' achievements and the risks they incur when providing humanitarian aid, as well as those who have died while working for the organisation. And also, the day is observed to mobilise action, demand justice, and strengthen the resolve to protect UN personnel and peacekeepers, as well as colleagues in the non-governmental sector and the press.
The UN Secretary-General releases a statement to remember individuals who have been imprisoned or who have disappeared and to demand their release and safe return, every year.