The Staff Council works to increase security and safety and to protect the welfare of staff working in Vienna and in the field.
Security in the VIC
The security measures implemented as of 1 January 2009 were introduced with common sense and with due consideration to the needs of staff members. In some instances, some relatively minor problems were reported but once raised with the VIC Safety and Security Services were addressed and resolved.
Security in the field
Security and safety of staff has been a primary concern of our federation (CCISUA), which includes among its membership many field-based organizations, including UNHCR, UNICEF, and WFP, who traditionally bear the brunt of the security related incidents. The Staff Union has provided substantive inputs to CCISUA for its participation in the various inter-agency mechanisms on safety and security. The participation of staff representatives has, among other things, reassured staff that their interests and concerns in relation to safety and security were represented.
We continued to recommend that all offices, including those outside the capitals and those housing extra-budgetary technical cooperation projects, should be MOSS-compliant, and that regional situations should be taken into account in determining programme presence. Risk assessment should be stringent and thorough, and the UN should make the tough decision to remove staff from duty stations where the lack of security effectively means there is no value added in our presence.We have called upon the Secretary-General to take a stronger stance with governments in relation to staff protection.
While CCISUA has been appreciative of the work undertaken thus far in relation to improving the security situation of national staff, it is clear that much remains to be done, if we are to transform one of the most important findings of the Brahimi report into a reality for those who are truly in the line of fire.
For local staff, CCISUA continues to recommend that the Organization helps them to become secure in their homes, and relocates them in times of emergency. The time for discriminatory treatment between local and international staff in the benefits and entitlements provided for in difficult duty stations must come to an end.
Statement of the President of the Staff Union concerning the attack on the UN building in Nigeria
The United Nations House in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, was struck by a car bomb on Friday, 26 August 2011. In this shocking attack, as reported by Mr. Fedotov, three UNODC colleagues were hospitalized: two are thought not to be in critical condition, but one colleague has died. The Norwegian government subsequently named the victim as Ingrid Midtgaard, a thirty-year-old lawyer. Ingrid joined the UNODC Office Nigeria in November 2010 as an Associate Expert. She was assisting in backstopping in the anti-corruption related portfolio. Her work also involved supporting future programming in the areas of drugs and crime, anti-corruption and Justice Sector Reform. The other two colleagues who were hospitalized have not been identified.
The United Nations Staff Union at Vienna, on behalf of all its members, extends its heartfelt sympathy to the families and colleagues of the victims.
At the same time, we are asking Rick Cottam, the representative of our Federation (CCISUA) in the Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN), to ask USG Gregory Starr of the Department of Safety and Security to clarify the circumstances of the attack and whether the appropriate security measures were in place considering the fact that in the previous months similar attacks were launched to Nigerian targets and the UN were considered to be at risk. We ask for a full investigation and for a public disclosure of its result.
We also ask the Administration to ask the Nigerian authorities to comply with obligations of the host country to ensure the security and safety of staff and to bring the organizers of this terrible act to justice.
Once again, while Member States continue to cut the costs of the Organization by reducing the conditions of service of the international civil servants, the Staff have to mourn the loss of the colleagues who take considerable risks to serve the United Nations.