UN "doing everything possible" to "find and help" missing experts

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The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members marks the anniversary of the abduction of UN staff member Alec Collett. UN Photo/Milton Grant

The UN is "doing everything possible" to "find and help" two members of an experts' group established by the Security Council, who are missing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan were on assignment in the Kasai Central region of DRC, when they disappeared on 12 March, along with four Congolese nationals.

Secretary General António Guterres highlighted their case in a message to mark the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, on Saturday.

Matthew Wells has more.

The UN chief said the case of the missing experts and local staff was the latest example of the "perils" that the UN and its partners often face "while serving the world's people."

He said the organization was "doing everything possible" to find them.

In 2016, seven UN personnel were abducted by non-state actors and four were kept as hostages: all were ultimately released.

Currently, he added, 20 civilian personnel remain in detention and six are being held without any explanation being given to the UN for their arrest.

Just 92 states have signed up to the 1994 Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel, and only 30 of them have ratified a 2005 Protocol which extends protection to UN staffers delivering "humanitarian, political or development assistance."

The UN chief urged all countries to ratify the agreements on UN staff safety, and called for everyone to "stand in solidarity" on the International Day and beyond, with humanitarian personnel doing a vital but difficult job for the world's most vulnerable.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 59"

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