Thursday, July 22, 2010
A protocol that expands an international treaty aimed at protecting United Nations staff members and other humanitarian workers will enter into force within a month after the United Kingdom became the latest country to ratify it. The UK became party to the 2005 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel yesterday, joining 21 other countries which have already done so over the past four years. The optional protocol will now enter into force in 30 days.
The optional protocol provides legal protection to staff delivering emergency humanitarian assistance and to those providing political and development assistance in peacebuilding situations. It extends the legal protection offered by the 1994 convention on the same subject, which only applies to personnel engaged in peacekeeping operations.
Last year alone, 28 civilian UN staff members were killed, according to the UN Staff Union, and at least 97 aid workers were killed, while 60 others were wounded and 92 more were abducted.
The UN Staff Union issued a statement welcoming the move by the UK and the other countries and urging all other Member States to ratify both the optional protocol and the convention.
(From a UN Press Release)