A ceremony was held at UN HQ New York on 6 Jun 2024 to remember the 188 personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty between 1 Jan and 31 Dec 2023. The dead came from 37 countries and were working in 18 different UN agencies or missions as military, police or civilian personnel. Since 2011, this ceremony has been held annually to pay tribute and honour the memory of all United Nations personnel who tragically lost their lives in its service during the course of the previous year.

The total list of fatalities for 2023 included 135 who were killed in the conflict in Gaza. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres said “That is by far the highest number of our personnel killed in a single conflict or natural disaster since the creation of the United Nations – a reality we can never accept”. He reiterated his call for “full accountability” for the deaths. “We owe this to their family members and friends, to their colleagues, and to the world. Our UNRWA personnel lived and died as representatives of the international community in Gaza, and that community deserves an explanation.”

“Unfortunately, we were unable to contact many of the family members of our UNRWA colleagues because they have either been killed or forced from their homes by Israeli military operations,” Mr. Guterres said. The remaining UNRWA personnel were remembered with their professional titles. “They were teachers, drivers, doctors, sanitation workers, guards, pharmacists, administrative assistants and more. They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives. They were our colleagues. They were our friends,” Mr. Guterres said. “I am personally devastated that despite our best efforts, we could not protect our personnel in Gaza.”


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