UNHCR remembers slain colleague on first anniversary
GENEVA, Nov 16 (UNHCR) - A year after the murder of UNHCR staff member Bettina Goislard in Afghanistan, UN refugee agency chief Ruud Lubbers has reiterated his commitment to ensuring security for aid workers assisting people most in need.
Goislard, a French aid worker, was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle while driving through central Ghazni, south-eastern Afghanistan, on November 16, 2003. The perpetrators were arrested immediately and have since been brought to justice. Another UNHCR staff member, Abdul Salam, who was in the same car, has recovered from his injuries after extensive treatment and therapy.
On Monday, Goislard's family, UN colleagues, diplomats and government officials gathered at a small chapel in Kabul's Italian embassy to honour her memory and pay tribute to her commitment to helping Afghans return home. Goislard is buried in Kabul's historic British Cemetery.
In a message to UNHCR staff on Monday, High Commissioner Lubbers lamented, "Bettina, unfortunately, was not the last humanitarian victim in Afghanistan in the past 12 months. Two Afghan colleagues from our implementing partner Malteser International and five MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières] colleagues were killed this year. The recent kidnapping of three UNAMA [United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] colleagues in broad daylight in Kabul is a worrying example of how delicate and complex our working environment remains, and we hope and pray for their release."
He added, "I shall continue to stress with governments that security is a prerequisite for the humanitarian community to assist those most in need. Let us remember the life of Bettina and the humanitarian workers around the world who have lost their lives due only to their readiness to serve others."