Demand for United Nations Security Support Sharply Rises as Global Crises Grew in Scale, Severity, Unpredictability

NEW YORK, 31 October (Department of Safety and Security) — As new and existing conflicts have had far-reaching security and humanitarian consequences across the world, the need for the Organization to respond simultaneously to multiple crises has led to a sharp rise in demand for security support, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a report released today.

The report “Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel” analyses global security trends and security incidents involving United Nations and humanitarian personnel in 2021 and the first half of 2022.

The global security environment remains volatile and unpredictable, marked by geopolitical divides, regional rivalries, challenges for States to deliver essential services, rising political tensions, social unrest, inequality, climate crises, debt crises and violent extremism, the report says.  Political and economic volatility is spreading risks across the globe, from countries already dealing with severe stresses from conflict or natural hazards to parts of the world that were hoping to resume a post pandemic path towards stability and development.

The United Nations is continuing to deliver its mandates despite and through these turbulences, but the nature and scale of the threats faced by United Nations and humanitarian personnel continues to evolve with an increase in civil unrest, criminal activity, the expanded influence of violent non-State armed actors and the use of improvised explosive devices.

In this context, the Secretary-General expressed concerns on a worrying trend of a significant rise in the number of United Nations personnel deaths because of violence and in the number of arrest and detention of Organization personnel.  During the reporting period, 28 United Nations personnel lost their lives through acts of violence and safety-related incidents.  Also of concern, the number of arrests and detention of United Nations personnel has more than doubled, with 177 personnel arrested and detained in 2021 compared to 84 in 2020.

Intimidation and harassment affecting United Nations personnel intensified, with 386 incidents in 2021 compared to 304 in 2020.  Another worrying trend is the rise in direct attacks against United Nations premises with 41 attacks in 2021 compared to 32 in 2020.  Most of the attacks occurred in Mali and South Sudan, according to the report.

In the report, the Secretary-General expressed deep concern about the systemic disrespect for international law, and for humanitarian principles, stating:  “Intentional attacks on United Nations and humanitarian personnel constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”  The report also presents the ways in which United Nations security, with the Department of Safety and Security, is adapting to provide reliable and predictable support to the Organization’s entities and their partners so they stay and deliver for those most in need, even in the most dangerous contexts.

For more information, please contact Suchada Kulawat, Department of Safety and Security, at tel.:  +1 917 601 4822, or email:

For information media. Not an official record.