Dear Colleagues and Friends,
No doubt you have been following, as us, with great concern the developments in Afghanistan.
As your UNFSU Executive we wanted to provide you all an update on our activities and actions taken so far to try and ensure that the safety and wellbeing of all our UN colleagues there is a primary concern for the UN Leadership.
We had contact with the UNAMA leadership in early and mid-July, when we expressed our concerns for the developing situation and sought assurances that UN staff in the country would be well cared for, we received a briefing from the UNDSS representative in the country who explained to us the actions carried out so far to relocate and secure staff that were affected by the advances made by anti-government entities.
On 23 July, we took the initiative to send a joint letter from the three staff federations, FICSA, CCIUSA and our own UNISERV to the SRSG for Afghanistan and the USG UNDSS, to express our joint concerns for the safety and security of UN staff and we presented a survey which the UNFSU carried out amongst the entire UN system population in Afghanistan to determine the levels of anxiety and wellbeing amongst the staff under the situation. That letter is attached to this email.
On the 2nd of August Ms. Prisca Chaoui, the president of CCISUA federation sent a reminder to the addressees since no response had been received.
During an SMC meeting the matter of the situation in Afghanistan was brought up in order to solicit some feedback from the ASG OHR, the federation letter was referenced, and the ASG OHR, Ms. Martha Helena-Lopez requested to receive a copy of said letter which was provided.
While we are still awaiting a response to the letter from the addressees, during a townhall for international UNAMA staff yesterday the SRSG Ms. Lyons referred to the letter and indicated that a response is forthcoming soon.
We have maintained close contact with UNDSS representatives in the country as well as UNAMA Mission Support and the UNAMA UNFSU Committee throughout the period, and we will continue to do so.
Yesterday during the UNAMA Townhall it was unveiled that a back-office site had been identified and would be set up and that as soon as early next week a further reduction of international staff in Kabul would take place by sending approximately one hundred staff to the remote offices set up in a close by third country, a regular airbridge is foreseen to be set up between that location and Kabul.
We know that these are very trying times for our colleagues there, and we know that likely many of you may have served in the country at some stage during your years of working for the UN, which is why we are informing you all, since we are all part of the same family.
We are extremely concerned for the safety and wellbeing of our Afghan National Colleagues who may face far more serious risks as the situation further develops, we hope and trust that the UN Leadership will do all it can in its powers to protect the UN staff that have given their best for our organization, we must not leave them unnecessarily exposed to serious risks.
The UNFSU stands in solidarity with our Afghan colleagues and wishes to assure them that through our federation we will do all we can to influence and ensure that the UN lives up to its obligations of duty of care for all its staff.
Finally, we hope and pray for a peaceful and dignified transition of power in Afghanistan without bloodshed so that the country offers a safe and prosperous environment for all Afghani nationals to live in peace and solidarity with each other.