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International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members – March 25, 2023

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is observed annually on March 25. It honors the life of journalist Alec Collett and several other staff members of the United Nations who have been abducted or killed over the years. This day was established by the United Nations to raise global awareness, demand justice, and protect the selfless lives of UN staff members and peacekeepers. More than 3,500 members of the U.N. staff have lost their lives to war, abductions, and natural disasters.

History of International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members

The goal of the U.N. is to promote international peace and security, as well as foster friendly relations among the nations. However, with great responsibility comes even greater challenges, and this day was created to tackle one of them. Today we are marking a very important day in the lives of the staff members of the United Nations (U.N.), and the world at large.

Since its inception, hundreds of fearless men and women have lost their lives in brave service. This service is often centered around the peacekeeping missions of the organization which usually involves travel to risk-prone nations. With that being said, it is no surprise that the 1990s brought a wave of unrest in the lives of the U.N. staff members. This was caused by an increased need for U.N. peacekeeping missions. During this time, more lives of staff members were lost than in the previous four decades combined. This stirred up a cause for a resolution to protect the members of the United Nations. The first of such resolutions was adopted by the U.N. Security Council in 1993, and subsequently, the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel was created to protect U.N. personnel.

Alec Collett was a journalist and member of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (U.N.R.W.A.). He was abducted by a gunman, and his dead body was eventually found in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 2009. International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members was created in honor of his abduction, and to raise awareness of the protection of U.N. members as attacks against them intensify.

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members timeline

1945
The Foundation

The United Nations is established.

1985
The Abduction of Collett

Alec Collett is abducted on March 25.

1994
The Safety Convention

The Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel is adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 9.

2007
The Biggest Loss of Life

The deaths of 42 U.N. staff members represent the biggest annual loss of staff members.

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members FAQs

Is the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members a public holiday?

As important as this holiday might be, it is not an official public holiday. It s observed all over the world, but observers are still required to go about their usual routines like work and school.

How many countries are part of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel?

Although this convention was adopted in 1994, to date there are only 95 countries that are a party to it. The Secretary-General of the U.N. urges all nations to support and adopt the conventions.

Where was Alec Collett abducted?

Alec Collett was a journalist and member of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (U.N.R.W.A.). He was abducted at gunpoint while working on an article for the U.N. about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in 1985. His remains were found after 24 years in Bekaa Valley.

How to Observe International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members

  1. Spread awareness

    One of the best ways you can observe this day is by helping to spread awareness. This day was created to raise awareness and stir up action towards the protection of members of staff of the United Nations. You can join the cause by sharing some facts and statistics across your social media platforms. This shows gives other people the opportunity to learn more about the cause.

  2. Take a moment of silence

    As we have established, hundreds of lives have been lost through the peacemaking missions of the U.N. Take some time out today to remember those fearless lives, and have a moment of silence for the lost lives. If you know someone who has lost a loved one through the U.N. peace missions, today will also be a great time to send a sweet condolence message to them.

  3. Offer helpful information

    There are still members of the U.N. that were abducted and haven’t been found. Visit their site to know more about these people and see if you can offer any helpful information. You could go the extra mile and share this information with others to see what you can find.

5 Interesting Facts About Peacekeeping Missions

  1. It is cost-effective

    According to studies, it is eight times less cost-effective to deploy a U.N. Peacekeeping mission than the US military.

  2. It is becoming less fatal

    Over the last 25 years, the rate of fatal attacks on peacekeepers has fallen.

  3. It takes a village

    The U.N. Peacekeeping is made up of over 110,000 field personnel and over 100 countries contributing troops, police, and civilians.

  4. It has a far reach

    The actions of the U.N. Peacekeepers have helped over 150 million people worldwide.

  5. Some missions are very old

    There have been over 70 peacekeeping missions of the U.N., six of which were active for over 26 years.

Why International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is Important

  1. It protects our fearless soldiers

    International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members has a greater goal of protecting the members of the United Nations. We are all about this day because the people that go the extra mile to create global peace deserve to have their lives protected too.

  2. It raises awareness

    A lot of people do not understand the length U.N. members go through to foster global peace. This day sheds light on that and raises awareness on a global scale of the sacrifices they undergo, as well as the cause for their protection.

  3. It’s a Memorial Day

    This day raises awareness of the risks U.N. members go through. It also serves as a Memorial Day for those who have lost their lives and lost loved ones. This day allows us to mourn with those who have lost loved ones in the peacemaking fight, and allows them to feel less alone.

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members dates

YearDateDay
2023March 25Saturday
2024March 25Monday
2025March 25Tuesday
2026March 25Wednesday
2027March 25Thursday

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