More than one month has passed since the start of current hostilities in Israel and Gaza on 7 October 2023. At this point [9 November 2023], 99 UNRWA colleagues have been killed and at least 26 have been injured. This is the highest number of United Nations aid workers killed in a conflict in the history of our Organisation.
The situation in Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Middle East is shattering. Many of us are from the region or have friends, families, and colleagues there and are experiencing this crisis at a very personal level. Our colleagues in Gaza are working under indescribable hardship to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population there.
We mourn the colleagues and their families who have lost their lives, and we stand with those who are still selflessly continuing to serve in the face of incredible hardship and loss. We also mourn the unnecessary loss of all civilian lives.
Staff in UNOV/UNODC have been reaching out to the Staff Council to ask how they can make a contribution to help those affected by the crisis.
As a member of the United Nations International Civil Servants Federation (UNISERV), the UNOV/UNODC Staff Council has been in regular communications with senior management about how the Organisation and its staff can best respond to the urgent needs in the region. We did not communicate publicly about our engagement in the first weeks of the conflict due to an explicit management request to exercise utmost restraint and refrain from communications, whether internally or externally. At this point, after one month has passed, we wish to apprise you of the following actions:
We have asked for and hope that globally our mourning will be duly recognised and an official, central moment of silence for the fallen staff will be announced soon.
We have asked for the United Nations flag to be lowered to half-mast for a period of mourning.
We have inquired about the possibility of a central benevolence fund to assist with financial relief for colleagues and their families.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Staff Council for any help, guidance or support you may need.
If you wish to contribute to the emergency appeals, here are some options from UN entities: