United Nations, Oct 28 – Acts of violence and safety-related incidents claimed the lives of 28 UN civilian personnel in 2020 and the first six months of 2021, according to a report released on Wednesday.
Of the 28 fatalities, seven were as a result of acts of violence, and 21 were due to safety-related incidents, shows the UN secretary-general’s latest report, “Safety and Security of Humanitarian Personnel and Protection of UN Personnel.”
The number of abductions of UN personnel drastically increased to 17 in 2020, from six in 2019. Another seven personnel were abducted in the first six months of 2021, Xinhua news agency reported.
During the 18 months covered in the UN chief’s report, 153 personnel were injured due to acts of violence, and 157 others were injured due to safety-related incidents.
Overall, incidents relating to safety and security affected 2,217 UN personnel, compared with 2,162 in the previous 18 months.
During the latest reporting period, there were 45 attacks on UN premises, 164 attacks on UN vehicles and 177 intrusions into UN premises.
For the past 18 months, three major trends have persisted, with adverse effects on the levels and types of threats against UN and humanitarian personnel carrying out their critical work in volatile settings, says the report.
First, the role of non-state armed actors continued to gain prominence. Second, information technology, alongside its benefits, has posed threats associated with disinformation. Third, the expansion of violent extremism across continents continued, in particular in areas lacking employment opportunities for young people and basic state services such as security.
UN and humanitarian personnel continue to risk their lives to bring aid and hope to those in despair. They have prevented the worst outcomes in dire humanitarian situations. In the past 18 months, seven UN personnel and a reported 101 humanitarian personnel from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have lost their lives as a result of violence, Xinhua news agency said citing the report.
“I am deeply saddened by these deaths and express my sincere condolences to the bereaved families. I condemn, in the strongest terms, all forms of violence against United Nations and humanitarian personnel. The legacies of these fallen brave men and women live on in our commitment to continue to work, even in dangerous places, to create a better world,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the report.
He also voiced deep concern over the sharp rise in the number of abductions of UN and humanitarian personnel, with 17 abduction incidents affecting UN personnel in 2020, more than double the number of abductions in 2019. Similarly, the reported number of NGO humanitarian personnel abducted rose to 182 in 2020, compared with 127 in 2019.
During the 18 months, 27 uniformed peacekeepers died as a result of malicious acts — 12 in 2020, and 15 in the first six months of 2021.