International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members
Today (Tuesday) is the 50th day of captivity for John Solecki, UNHCR's head of office in Quetta, Pakistan, who was abducted in an attack on February 2 that also left another colleague, Syed Hashim, dead. The last we heard, John's health was deteriorating and we are increasingly worried about his medical condition.
Tomorrow is the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members - a day aimed at raising awareness globally of the risks faced by U.N. staff and our NGO partners and journalists in carrying out their important work around the world.
In his message marking the day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes that there are currently 19 UN staff members under arrest, detained or missing. One of them is John Solecki.
High Commissioner António Guterres and more than 6,000 UNHCR staff in some 120 countries around the world don't really need a special day to remember John because he and his family have been in our thoughts each and every day since February 2. And they will remain so until John is released and back where he belongs - with his family, his colleagues and the uprooted people he has committed his life to helping.
But the High Commissioner wants to take this occasion to remind everyone that attacks on humanitarian workers are occurring all too often and in far too many places around the world. People like John Solecki have one goal - to help those in need. Attacking them hurts all of us, but especially the most vulnerable.
So as we mark this International Day of Solidarity with Missing Staff Members, we again appeal to those holding John to release him immediately so he and all of his colleagues can continue to carry out their vital humanitarian work.