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SG/SM/21204

Secretary-General Expresses Solidarity with 22 Detained Staff Members, Reiterating Calls for Their Immediate Release, in International Observance Message

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, observed on 25 March:

In every corner of the world, whether in their home countries or far away, United Nations personnel work tirelessly to serve the people of the world.

This International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members reminds us of the perils that these dedicated women and men often face while carrying out their vital mission and advancing the ideals enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Since 2021, 142 United Nations personnel have been detained, including 15 in 2022 alone.  In total, 22 United Nations personnel are still in detention.  National staff are often at particular risk and face unacceptable threats to their safety and security.

We continue to monitor these cases and seek the immediate release of all our colleagues.  I thank the Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union for its steadfast advocacy and vigilance.

United Nations personnel should never be arrested or detained because of the work they do in carrying out our mandate.  I call on all countries to ensure that the necessary privileges and immunities are fully respected, including the immunity from legal process to be accorded to United Nations personnel pursuant to the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.

I also call on all countries, which have not yet done so, to accede to and fully implement the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, as well as the 2005 Optional Protocol to the Convention, which extends protection to personnel delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance.

The safety of everyone who works with the United Nations is our top priority.  On this International Day, let us stand in solidarity with all detained colleagues and pledge to protect all United Nations personnel as they work to advance peace and human rights, protect the planet and build a better future for all.

For information media. Not an official record.