Tag Archives: UNSecretaryGeneral

At Security Council, Ban urges action to end violence against religious, ethnic minorities in Middle East

27 March 2015 – Millions of lives in the Middle East – and the very social fabric of entire countries – are at stake, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned this morning, calling for urgent action from the Security Council to end the religiously and ethnically-motivated violence sweeping the region and end impunity for those committing crimes against humanity.

“I am deeply concerned about the grave dangers faced by minorities in parts of the Middle East. Currently, thousands of civilians are at the mercy of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL), also called Daesh,” Mr. Ban said at a high-level debate on victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the region, chaired by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

“Its fighters kill systematically members of ethnic and religious minorities, those who do not share their misinterpretation of Islam and anyone who opposes their apocalyptic conception. They prey on women and children with unspeakable brutality. They destroy religious and cultural symbols that are the heritage of humanity,” Mr. Ban stressed.

The acts have spread to Syria, Iraq and now Libya and even in Yemen, where the bomb attacks perpetrated against mosques last week have further fueled sectarian violence. Condemning all acts of persecution, regardless of the reason – religious, ethnic, national, racial or other, the UN chief urged all parties to spare innocent lives.

Meanwhile, abuses in counter-terrorism are morally wrong and strategically counterproductive, Mr. Ban said, adding that combating terrorism never absolves governments of their responsibility to honour human rights.

In Iraq, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) cited information strongly suggesting that Daesh may have perpetrated genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against different minorities, and especially women and girls.

“My Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect warned last August that acts committed by Daesh pointed to the risk of genocide. Now we also see sectarian violence against local populations in areas liberated from its control,” the UN chief told the Council.

However, it is important to note that violent extremism in the region, for instance in Iraq, preceded Daesh’s advance, Mr. Ban pointed out, welcoming steps by the Iraqi Government to further national reconciliation, strengthen social cohesion, and reform the security sector. To that end, the Government must do more to uphold human rights and restore the rule of law in areas liberated from Daesh and the international community must help Iraq in this effort.

Five years into the Syrian conflict, the lack of accountability has led to an “exponential rise” in war crimes, crimes against humanity and other human rights violations. Both Government forces and non-State armed groups in Syria, especially Daesh and Jabhat al Nusra, have committed such deplorable acts.

“As we consider the plight of minority communities, we must avoid highlighting differences and reaffirm the values of diversity and peaceful coexistence. I urge the international community, particularly the Security Council, to overcome differences and seek new ways to ensure the protection of all Syrian civilians,” Mr. Ban said.

Mr. Ban plans to travel to Kuwait in the next few days for an international pledging conference for Syria. He called on all countries to give generously to help the millions of Syrians who are suffering and to assist neighbouring countries which shoulder most of the burden. Humanitarian assistance is vital to the region’s political stability.

Expressing concern about recent developments in Libya, where Daesh-affiliated groups are targeting minorities and attacking religious sites, Mr. Ban called on negotiating parties to quickly reach an agreement to bring an end to the military and political conflict. It is crucial to “curb the danger of Libya falling in the hands of terrorist groups.” Ongoing tribal tensions in the South could ignite violence along identity lines, the Secretary-General warned.

“No strategy will succeed without strong regional cooperation and an empowered Libyan State. The United Nations is developing a Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism which we will launch in September,” he said.

While governments have the primary responsibility to protect minorities, the international community must engage with partners in civil society, faith leaders and others with influence, including regional and other actors, as well.

To that end, the Secretary-General urged religious and community leaders to clearly remind their followers that religions are about peace, not violence and war.

Mr Ban also announced that next month, he and the President of the UN General Assembly would invite leaders from different faith communities to a special event at the United Nations.

“We will build on the experience of the UN Alliance of Civilizations to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation,” he said, underscoring that the Middle East is widely considered the cradle of many of the world’s great civilizations.

“Today, let us resolve to empower people – especially youth – to transform the region into the birthplace of a more stable and secure world.”

#NigeriaDecides

Africa’s largest democracy holds elections tomorrow. President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a tough re-election battle with longtime rival Muhammadu Buhari. With the Boko Haram insurgency raging, these elections are exceedingly consequential. Here are some resources to keep you informed about the elections and their significance.

A Good Think tank Policy Brief  (Council on Foreign Relations http://on.cfr.org/1FOoWkR)

A Good 14 minute podcast explainer: Global Dispatches Podcast: http://bit.ly/1ycCvCO

A Good explainer on the nuts and bolts of how the election will work. (BBC http://bbc.in/1FOpBmp)

More Nigeria News

Nigeria holds journalist…The Al Jazeera news organization says Nigerian forces have held two of its journalists in custody since Tuesday, as the country tightens security ahead of Saturday’s national election. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtwtA)

United Nations refugee chief António Guterres said masses of people fleeing the terrorist group Boko Haram have created a crisis comparable to the refugee situation caused by Syria’s civil war. A shortfall of international funding is hampering the UN’s ability to alleviate the situation. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtBxw)

Sat of the day: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that widespread violence and turmoil in the past year have taken a toll on United Nations worker with 33 detained and one missing. Two contractors have also been abducted. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BsOf5x)

Africa

An international court has denied a request from former Liberian president Charles Taylor to serve the rest of his 50-year prison sentence in Rwanda. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtmmb)

Dozens of senior officials in Burundi’s ruling party have urged President Pierre Nkurunziza to abandon a quest for a third term this June to avoid renewed violence in the landlocked central African nation. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FWLhem)

South Sudanese opposition officials and civil society activists have condemned as self-serving and unconstitutional a move by parliament to extend the terms of the country’s elected officials, including themselves and President Salva Kiir. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLm1N)

Sierra Leone is preparing for another lockdown to fight the Ebola epidemic. It is believed that against all medical advice, some people continue to bury the dead themselves, bringing them into contact with the virus. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLlLl)

A former child soldier from Democratic Republic of Congo told the United Nations Security Council he was sorry for the harm he caused after he was forcefully recruited from his school by an armed group at age 12. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GZteDc)

A Somali businessman is betting on a biometric fingerprint system to keep alive vital money transfer firms which face closure after Western banks cut ties due to fears remittance cash may be channelled to militant groups. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FWLgXP)

Sierra Leone authorities have again delayed the reopening of schools shut down for months to combat the spread of Ebola. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLmyL)

The three nations hardest hit by West Africa’s Ebola epidemic recorded the lowest weekly total of new cases so far this year in the week leading up to March 22, the WHO said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GZtiTt)

Liberian health ministry officials say a woman, the country’s first Ebola patient in more than a month, has been quarantined and stabilized and is responding to “supportive” treatment. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZttOk)

Nigeria’s main presidential candidates signed a second peace accord ahead of general elections on Saturday, the government said on Thursday, promising to hold peaceful polls and not incite religious or ethnic tensions. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1FWLhuQ)

MENA

The global chemical weapons watchdog will investigate allegations of chlorine gas attacks in Syrian villages that killed six and wounded dozens this month, a source said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsOJZj)

The long-running conflict with Israel claimed the lives of more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than any year since 1967, the United Nations said Thursday, in a damning report on the humanitarian situation. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HLaf2D

The United Nations accused the Islamic State of committing shockingly widespread and extremely severe human rights violations against the people of Iraq. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FWLmij)

Amnesty International says Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes by firing rockets and other crudely built, indiscriminate projectiles into Israel during last year’s conflict in the Gaza Strip. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GZtyll)

The human rights group Amnesty International said in a report Thursday that Palestinian militants committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict by killing both Israeli and Palestinian civilians using indiscriminate projectiles. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HL9KFF)

The flag of once-independent South Yemen is visible everywhere around this port city, once the country’s capital. The banner — red, white, black and blue with a red star — is painted on walls, flown from homes, and flutters from the vehicles and checkpoints of militiamen in the streets. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HLadrz)

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called on all sides in a widening conflict in Yemen to obey the rules of war, voicing concern at reports of civilian casualties following Saudi-led air strikes. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsOKwb)

Asia

The U.S. government and major business leaders are renewing their call on the Thai government to crack down on slavery in its fishing fleets, and to punish people who force migrant workers to catch seafood that can end up in the United States. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HL9d6T)

Myanmar is increasing the salaries of its government employees — doubling some of them — as of next month. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BsOH3t)

Humanitarian agencies are struggling to cope with a growing number of people displaced by fighting in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1bxuun5)

The Americas

The death toll in Chile rose to four after rains battered the north and caused flooding, the government said on Thursday, while 22 others were unaccounted for as the military rescued stranded villagers. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsOL3b)

A delegation of U.S. telecommunication officials is in Havana to meet with their Cuban counterparts as part of talks to restore full diplomatic relations between the countries. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BsOAVy)

The heaviest rains to hit Chile’s northern desert regions in 20 year have left at least two people dead and 24 missing as the torrential downpours caused mudslides and rivers to breach their banks, leaving thousands of residents stranded. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BsODB0)

There’s an HIV outbreak in rural Indiana, tied to widespread injectible drug. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1IBb9fG)

…and the rest

Mass abductions of children by groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State are on the rise, with the practice now becoming a tactic of war, a UN envoy warned. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HLa8Eh)

Opinion/Blogs

Why gender equality by numbers will never measure up (Guardian http://bit.ly/1bxuljx)

Hollywood made a zombie movie but replaced the zombies with Asians (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1BsN59Z)

Record-breaking year for asylum claims: 8 key trends (IRIN http://bit.ly/1BsPYI3)

How dealing with climate change is like playing cricket (Guardian http://bit.ly/1BsQIg1)

Is social media fuelling a Mexican Spring? (BBC http://bbc.in/1EHkZc9

Education as a Cornerstone for Women’s Empowerment (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1EHl13y)

What’s Up With Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Children? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1bxuC5Z)

Discussion

comments…

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Ban notes Saudi Arabia&#39s military operations in Yemen, urges protection of civilians

26 March 2015 – Noting Saudi Arabia’s announcement that, at the request of the Government of Yemen, it has begun military operations in the Gulf nation, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and emphasized that despite escalation, negotiations remain the only option for ultimately resolving the crisis.

&#8220[Mr. Ban] is aware of reports that other States, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are also supporting these operations,&#8221 said a statement released from the Office of the UN chief’s spokesperson.

&#8220The Secretary-General reminds all parties involved of their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians and of all humanitarian and United Nations and associated personnel, as well as of the rules and principles of international human rights law and refugee law,&#8221 the statement added.

Mr. Ban recalled last Sunday’s Security Council’s Presidential Statement which, while supporting the legitimacy of the Yemeni President, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, called upon all parties and Member States to refrain from taking any actions that undermine the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen.

At that emergency Council meeting, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar warned that the country is on a &#8220rapid downward spiral&#8221 as the conflict has taken on &#8220worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.&#8221

In statement following the meeting, the Council called on all Member States to refrain from external interference which seeks to foment conflict and instability and instead to support the political transition.

The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy. The country has continued to be plagued by violence and political demonstrations despite UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political resolution.

Also today, the Secretary-General expressed appreciation for Mr. Benomar’s tireless. Mr. Ban said he would continue to closely monitor the unfolding situation in Yemen.

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Governments urged to join Biological Weapons Convention

26 Mar 2015

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Weapons collected in Libya to prevent arms proliferation. Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti

The 23 countries that have not yet joined the Biological Weapons Convention have been urged to do so without delay.

The call has come from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the first multilateral disarmament treaty to ban an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.

These weapons release infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses to incapacitate or kill people.

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

The Convention opened for signature in April 1972 and entered into force in March 1975.

In his message, the UN Secretary-General notes that 40 years later the Biological Weapons Convention has the support of 173 States parties.

Ban Ki-moon says that in this anniversary year, all countries should reaffirm their unequivocal rejection of the use of disease as a weapon.

He points out that although there is a strong norm against the use and possession of biological weapons, there is still a need for vigilance.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrates the damage which diseases can inflict, Mr. Ban adds.

That damage, the Secretary-General warns, could increase massively were such diseases deliberately misused as weapons.

He says a conference in 2016 to review the Convention is an opportunity to adapt it to the challenges posed by advances in science and technology as well as potential risks posed by terrorists and other non-state actors.

Cathrine Hasselberg United Nations

Duration: 1’07″

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&#39We must remain vigilant,&#39 Ban urges as Biological Weapons Convention turns 40

26 March 2015 – The world must continue to remain vigilant against the threat of biological weapons despite the progress made by the international community in preventing their spread, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a message marking the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Biological Weapons Convention, the Secretary-General noted that &#8220the norm against the use and possession of biological weapons remains strong, and no country identifies itself as possessing biological weapons.&#8221

However, he added, Member States need to remain aware of the looming threat that such devastating armaments pose to humanity and continue to enforce efforts to eliminate their availability.

&#8220The Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrates the damage which diseases can inflict, damage which could increase massively were such diseases deliberately misused as weapons,&#8221 said Mr. Ban.

&#8220On the other hand,&#8221 he continued, &#8220the outbreak also demonstrates the commitment of the international community to respond to such threats, whether natural or deliberate. It also shows the vital role of science in creating better defences.&#8221

The Biological Weapons Convention opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. It prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element, along with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention, in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

It was also the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. It currently has 173 States parties.

Mr. Ban called on the 23 governments that have not yet joined the Convention to do so &#8220without delay,&#8221 adding that in its anniversary year, and with the Eighth Review Conference around the corner in 2016, &#8220all countries should reaffirm their unequivocal rejection of the use of disease as a weapon.&#8221

&#8220We must remain vigilant. The Eighth Review Conference in 2016 is an opportunity to consolidate progress and consider how to adapt this landmark Convention to the challenges posed by advances in science and technology as well as potential risks posed by terrorists and other non-State actors,&#8221 the Secretary-General affirmed. &#8220I encourage States Parties to think creatively about how to build confidence in compliance with the Convention.&#8221

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Development partners renew funding for Guinea-Bissau

25 Mar 2015

Brussels, 25 March 2015 – International development partners pledged today over 1 billion Euros to support Guinea-Bissau’s social and economic development. The funding will support the Government’s Development Strategy Plan, Terra Ranka (meaning a fresh start), which aims to ensure long-term sustainable development, consolidate peace and stability, and increase economic growth.

In a round-table co-organized by the Government of Guinea-Bissau, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU), support and financial resources were mobilized for the implementation of the Strategic and Operational Development Plan of the Government of Guinea-Bissau for the next five years.

International partners such as the World Bank, the Africa development Bank, the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) also contributed to organize the conference. The meeting was attended by key bilateral partners of Guinea Bissau such as the USA, Brazil, the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada or China, multilateral organizations such as Global partnership for Education, global funds such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) took part in the conference.

“This strategy draws first and foremost on a shared vision of the society we wish to build over the next ten years” said Jose Mario Vaz, President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.  “By 2025, our country will be on its way to becoming a prosperous and inclusive society that fosters rising living standards based on the sustainable development of our country’s exceptional land and marine biodiversity”, he added.

“The United Nations will continue to support the Government and people of Guinea-Bissau through the UN Development Action Framework, elaborated jointly with the Government and estimated at USD 300 million, and through the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau,” Special Representative of Secretary General of United Nations in Guinea-Bissau, Miguel dos Anjos Trovoada said.

The European Union (EU) announced it will resume cooperation and provide new funding to Guinea-Bissau of € 160 million.

UNDP and EU have been partners during Guinea-Bissau’s transition to a constitutional order. During the 2014 general elections, both institutions provided electoral support to the country.

“UNDP will continue strengthening state institutions, including defense, security and justice to consolidate stability and rule of law, democratic participation and access to equal opportunities for all,” said Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Regional Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.

According to 2014 UNDP’s Human Development Index, Guinea-Bissau is ranked 177 out of 187 countries. Nearly half of its 1.7 million people live in extreme poverty.

Since 2014, the democratically elected government has committed to consolidating democracy, justice reform and the provision of basic services such as electricity and water.  The new Government’s Strategic and Operational Plan for 2015-2020 defines a vision aimed at a politically and stable country through inclusive development, good governance and preservation of biodiversity by developing infrastructures, tourism and agro-industry, amongst others.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Jose Maria Vaz, President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall and Under-Secretary-General and Head of the UN Department of Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, who delivered a statement on behalf of the UN Secretary General, and Neven Mimiça, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.

Contact Information

Brussels: Ludmila Tiganu, Communications Specialist, UN/UNDP Representation Office, ludmila.tiganu@undp.org

Guinea-Bissau: Yanira Santana, RC Communication Officer, yanira.santana@undp.org

 

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UN unveils permanent memorial to victims of transatlantic slave trade

25 March 2015 – United Nations officials today welcomed the unveiling at the world body’s New York Headquarters of a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade which they acknowledged was one of the most horrific tragedies of modern history.

“This memorial stands as a strong and permanent reminder – not only of this gross injustice but of the goals that the UN set for itself 70 years ago,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the unveiling. “This poignant and powerful memorial helps us to acknowledge the collective tragedy that befell millions of people. It encourages us to consider the historical legacy of slavery and, above all, it ensures that we never forget.”

He pointed to the UN’s educational work, teaching students about the transatlantic slave trade through the ‘Remember Slavery Programme’ and ensuring they appreciate how intolerance and racism can easily breed acts of hatred and violence.

“I hope descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade will feel empowered as they remember those who overcame this brutal system and passed their rich cultural heritage from Africa on to their children,” Mr. Ban said, while also issuing a call to honour women of African descent, noting that a third of those sold as slaves from Africa were female.

“In addition to enduring the harsh conditions of forced labour as slaves, they experienced extreme forms of discrimination and exploitation as a result of their gender,” he said. The theme of the annual International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade this year is ‘Women and Slavery.’

Mr. Ban was joined at the unveiling of the ‘Ark of Return’ by the Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica, the memorial’s architect, Rodney Leon, as well as senior UN officials, including General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, who said that slavery remained one of the “darkest and most abhorrent chapters” in world history.

“The majority of the victims of this brutal, primitive trade in human beings remain unnamed and unknown. Nevertheless, their dignity and courage was boundless and worthy of this honour and tribute,” said Mr. Kutesa. “While this may be a solemn occasion, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of those unknown and unnamed enslaved Africans and honour their proud contribution to our societies, our institutions and our world.”

Recalling the launch last December of the International Decade for People of African Descent, Mr. Kutesa said the ‘Ark of Return’ would be one of the most important contributions of the entire decade.

“The fact that we will unveil it today and have unveiled it today on the first remembrance day of the decade is a major accomplishment,” he said.

He also noted the “deplorable and unacceptable” fact that 21 million people today are subjected to forced labour. “We have an obligation to stop modern slavery in whatever form it may be disguised.”

The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said the memorial stands as a statement of the world’s commitment to breaking the silence around the horrific tragedy of slavery and the slave trade and the millions of people it affected.

“This memorial is a symbol of our determination to pay tribute to these people and their resistance to the slave trade,” she said. “And this memorial is an act of remembrance but it is also a call to action, embodying the principles at the heart of the UN.”

Her words were echoed by the memorial’s designer, Rodney Leon, who also noted the role that his monument could play in educating people.

“It is our solemn responsibility to educate the future generations and to take our responsibilities seriously,” he said. “So this Ark of Return will stand as a constant reminder on the plaza of the United Nations, for all of us, not only to international leaders but also to the most basic of us here to never forget and to never repeat the mistakes of the past.”

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On International Day, Ban calls for release of UN personnel unlawfully arrested and detained

25 March 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called today for the release of all United Nations personnel who have been unlawfully arrested and detained, in a message to mark the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members.

“I call on relevant Member States to respect the status, privileges and immunities of the United Nations and to immediately release all UN staff members and associated personnel who are being unlawfully detained,” said Mr. Ban, noting intensified demand for UN engagement around the world. “In addition, I appeal to those non-State actors that are holding staff members to immediately release them.”

The International Day is held on the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, who was taken by armed gunmen in 1985 while working for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). With his remains having been found and returned to his family in 2009, the Day also honours his memory, and that of all those who have suffered a similar fate.

As of 15 March 2015, 33 UN and associated personnel were detained by State authorities in 15 countries. One staff member is missing and two contractors remain in the custody of abductors. In the first two months of 2015, abductions of UN personnel occurred in Afghanistan and the Central African Republic. Two contractors working for the Joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were kidnapped in Zalingei at gunpoint and remain in custody.

“Abductions of United Nations personnel are increasingly carried out by unscrupulous actors seeking to extract ransom, make a political point, or impede the Organization’s operations,” said Mr. Ban.

He expressed particular concern about the insecurity faced by staff in South Sudan and Syria, pointing to the abduction of a World Food Programme staff member in South Sudan last October, and the numerous UNRWA staff members detained, arrested or missing in Syria.

Those concerns were echoed in a statement released by the UN Staff Union, which said the situation in South Sudan was “particularly troublesome,” as humanitarian workers face the constant threat of kidnapping and harassment in trying to carry out their work. It noted that national staff members were particularly badly affected by detention and abduction, with nine out of 10 UN personnel detained or arrested by State authorities locally recruited.

“Every day that goes by is one too many for our abducted colleagues,” Ian Richards, Vice President of the UN Staff Management Committee, said in the statement.

The statement called for the immediate release of all unlawfully arrested and detained UN personnel, and noted that States held responsibility for obtaining the release of personnel, prosecuting the perpetrators and providing security to UN personnel.

“These are men and women who joined the United Nations to help others, but instead they must live daily in fear of their lives,” said Mr. Richards. “The thoughts and prayers of the 70,000 staff of the United Nations are with them at this time and every day.

“It is an outrage that those who abduct relief workers should continue to go unpunished,” he added. “The United Nations and its member governments must do all they can, and more than they are doing now, to secure our colleagues’ release and bring their abductors to justice.”

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